Dawn Chorus, by Ray Ching, is a sumptuous book and deserves to be under every Christmas tree in Aotearoa this year (and beyond). But, let’s stick to Aotearoa, the faraway land of the long white cloud to which an albatross leads the soul of Aesop. Here he meets, for the first time, the unique animals of this faraway land.
A picture book for adults is one way you might describe Dawn Chorus. It is most certainly a visual feast with its handwritten, cursive text, through which the story is told, and the accompanying paintings adding to the fantasy. There is an other-worldliness within this large, landscape book.
The pictures are exquisite. Ching, a New Zealander, now based in the UK, has an extraordinary talent with a pencil and brush. The native species that fill this book (to bursting) are divine. The quirky additions of speech bubbles and modern aspects of life in the land of the long white cloud add to the experience.
A stunning collection of Ching’s work; but also a story, and an experience all of its own. Once Aesop arrives at his destination he tells a series of fables that belong to the fauna of Aotearoa.
This is a delightful book to hold, and although I craved a hard cover I think the soft cover keeps it within the reach of more of us. It will make a great gift for anyone, including yourself.