This Little Chick/An Sicín Beag Buí
by John Lawrence (Author)
A lot of picturebooks, especially those for under fives, no matter how attractive and technically well produced, have a sameness about them. John Lawrence’s book is strikingly different from many of the blander offerings available. It has the features desirable in a picturebook for young readers: the pictures are simple and clear, the text provides opportunities to join in and to become familiar with a small number of words and the central character is sympathetic. But it also has a spark of originality, something which draws the reader in, and after a first reading encourages a return for more.
We see from the cover and the opening endpapers that little chick, like this book, is a bit different from the majority as he sets out on a journey involving encounters with a number of farm animals and birds. And on the closing endpapers we see him returning home to mother and siblings, having learned something about the wide world.
First published in English in the UK, it is now available in a leagán Gaeilge. In both Irish and English there is a refrain at every second page opening: ‘And what do you think they heard him say?’ / ‘Agus cad a chuala siad é a rá?’ The alternate page openings show little chick echoing the sounds made by those whom he meets: ‘Moo, Moo, Moo’, ‘Vác, Vác, Vác’.
All the space available, including cover, endpapers, title page, are used to advance the narrative. Lawrence uses vinyl and wood to print on watercolour washes, with the assistance of computer technology, providing an excellent example of very traditional methods of book production working well with modern technology.
This is an outstanding picturebook and one which should be enjoyed and treasured.