Advent Calendar

Chirri & Chirra – The Snowy Day by Kaya Doi

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Chirri and Chirra are two identical Japanese children who live in a hut on the edge of a forest. Each of their adventures sees them set off on their bicycles for an adventure in the natural world.

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In the Snowy Day the children are even more rosy cheeked than normal, as they ignore the unsuitable cycling conditions and plough through the frozen scenery into a magical ice cave populated by impossibly cute animals.

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There are a lot of cute animals.

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Everything about this small but perfectly formed book is a sensory delight, from the warm, off white paper to the soft, to the dreamy endpapers. Kaya Doi is a Tokyo based illustrator, prolific and much loved in Japan. The Chirri and Chirra stories are her first to appear in English, thanks to the wonderful Enchanted Lion books and a translation by Yuki Kaneko.

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Much about this world is familiar, even for readers with only a passing knowledge of Japanese children’s books; the multitude of happy animals, the idyllic natural setting and the fantastical elements.

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The real pleasure comes from the imaginitive flourishes, like the game of marbles played with the ‘frozen buds of many kinds of flowers.’ These marbles are later taken into a hot spring where they melt and the flowers bloom.

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Readers young and old will instantly warm to the world of Chirri and Chirra, it’s the picture book equivalent of wrapping yourself in a warm blanket and sipping slightly too hot chocolate whilst covered in kittens.

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Chirri & Chirra: The Snowy Day is published by Enchanted Lion

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