September 4, 2016


It's hard to come by a book as precious and dreamy as Kaya Doi's Chirri & Chirra. The text is translated from the Japanese original, and you can tell from the cover that this book is special: it makes me want to pull the book jacket off and hang it on my wall.

Two little girls set out on adventure of a lifetime, bicycling through a forest and interacting with its hospitable inhabitants. The book actually starts before the title page, putting the title page itself to good narrative use--rather than a wasted page, it becomes an unnarrated scene of the girls getting on their bikes and heading off into the forest. The remaining pages carry us through the story as they girls visit woodland cafes, bakeries, ponds, hotels. It's so telling of the tone that the girls are more surprised to be served something they haven't ordered than served something by a fox--there's never a moment's pause to give thought to the fact that the girls are in a fantastical world where people and animals interact so openly and easily.
It reads and feels like a vintage book, Doi's lithograph-esque illustrations are made from colored pencil, pastel, and crayon, so they're soft, bright, and highly textured, and the text is adventurous, bordering on nonsensical. The "dring-dring, dring-dring!" of their bicycle bells carries us through the text much like the left to right motion of the girls biking carries us through the images.
Chirri & Chirra publishes this Tuesday from Enchanted Lion!

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