May 19, 2022


The Song of the Nightingale by Tanya Landman and Laura Carlin is the story of how nightingales got their golden voices.

The newly created world was full of brightly colored landscapes during the day and velvety darkness at night, but the animals were dull in comparison. So the painter calls all the animals together, opens her paint box, and colors the animals of the world one by one, adding dots, stripes, and feathers until everyone is colorful and bright. Last on the list is the nightingale, who has been waiting patiently. But the painter realizes she has completely run out of paint, save for a drop of gold, so she places the drop in the back of the bird's throat, giving the bird its golden voice.

The illustrations were created with watercolor, acrylic, and pencil, allowing for a high level of fluidity and softness in the images. Despite the fact that the entire book's premise is based on turning a black-and-white world into a colorful one, every spread is chock full of bright hues that bleed into one another. True to folklore form, there are often large blocks of text on a single page, with the illustrations either on the opposite page or designed around the text to fill up the spread.

The Song of the Nightingale published last month from Candlewick Studio.

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