A gorgeous and evocative story of how the animals got their colours, from Carnegie Medal-winner Tanya Landman and V&A Illustration Award winner Laura Carlin. The earth was young and full of colour. But the animals were dull and drab. The painter decided: something must be done! With dabs and sweeps the painter's brush creates the stripes on the zebra, the sharp suit of the penguin and the bright splashes on parrots. But what can he give the nightingale when his paintbox has run dry? A beautiful and gently moving tale from the award-winning Tanya Landman and Laura Carlin.


Tanya Landman has written numerous books for children and young people, including Buffalo Soldier, winner of the Carnegie Medal, Apache, shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal and the BookTrust Teenage Prize, The Goldsmith's Daughter and Hell and High Water, shortlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, the Sam Swann and Poppy Fields mystery series and the beautiful picture book Mary's Penny. Visit Tanya at www.tanyalandman.com.
Laura Carlin is a graduate of the Royal College of Art and the winner of several awards, including the V&A Book Illustration Award. Her work has featured in Vogue, the Guardian and The New York Times; her previous books for Walker include The Iron Man by Ted Hughes, which was awarded an honourable mention in the Bologna Ragazzi Award fiction category. See Laura's work at lauracarlin.blogspot.co.uk.


Tanya Landman (Buffalo Soldier) and Laura Carlin (The Promise, King of the Sky) are the dream team.

The Times & The IrishTimes

Carnegie Medal winner Landman teams up with the exquisitely talented Carlin for a striking and evocative story of how the animals got their colours.

The Bookseller

A glorious hymn to creativity.

New Statesman

The Song of the Nightingale snuck in at the tail end of the year but shone immediately with its beautiful account of the Earth’s animals receiving their colours from an artist at the beginning of time. […] Reminiscent of John Burningham ’s textured, painterly early work, Laura Carlin ’s illustrations evolve from scratchy pencil sketches to vibrant, inky pictures of animals strutting and strolling, sent on their way by the painter, looking almost still wet. A celebration not just of the Earth’s creatures but creativity itself, this is an origin story to savour.

The Guardian

I can’t express my love for this book enough; it is such a treat on so many levels. Good length, large type for emerging readers, the most beautiful artwork and a lovely, heart-warming story. See what happens when the colourless animals meet the painter and the true story of the Nightingale’s song. I love it, I love it, I love it, I love it!

Small Print Books


English 4-11 Book Awards Leicester
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