A small bird named Little Peep wants to join the other birds singing at sunrise, but he discovers that he isn’t an early riser.
As Peep flits through a delicate landscape of abstract collaged shapes, he encounters various advisers—owl, mouse, frog—who tell him that the beautiful sound he is hearing is the Dawn Chorus. Sadly, however, he has arrived too late to join in, and the glorious song is over. The conductor invites him to audition the next day, but, alas, he is too late again. Given a second chance, he gets there in time, but due to late-night practicing, all he can do is yawn. Feeling sad, he starts to sing at dusk and hears another bird singing who looks just like him. Amazed, he asks the mystery bird why he can only sing in the evening. The answer is that they are both nightingales, a European bird that only sings at night. The rather thin narrative is weakened on this side of the Atlantic by the fact that the plot hinges on the behavior of a bird that most American children will never see. Educational value is limited by the naively decorative appearance of all the birds, as the “nightingales” don’t look very much different from the other diurnal species.
This sleepy narrative doesn’t ever really wake up. (Picture book. 2-5)