Following their eponymous opening adventure (2016), unflappable Japanese twins Chirri and Chirra return for another serene, sylvan outing.
It begins when they ride their bikes into a patch of tall grass, shrinking to the size of insects as they do. When they emerge, they find themselves dwarfed by sprigs of white clover, from which a bumblebee collects honey in two large baggies. They follow it to its nest in a hillside, peeking in through a hexagonal window to a charming kitchen in which the bee and her companion make honey sponge cake that they share with the girls. They then follow a flower chafer to its house, where the beetle gives them “freshly squeezed mixed-leaf juice with yumberry fruit and raspberry pulp.” Off they go again, bells ringing “dring-dring,” after a friendly lizard, who invites them in to make candy. The idyll, depicted in soft, smudgy colors that have the look of lithographs, plays out in cozy, single-page illustrations in a slightly smaller-than-typical trim. There is no sense of danger or even discontent, just a warm, green world that opens itself up to the twins—and when they re-emerge by their house in the firefly-lit twilight to find their candy suddenly gone, there are no tears. Whether readers decide it’s all imaginary or not is irrelevant; they will love every moment, regardless.
Utterly charming. (Picture book. 4-8)