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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Nightingale (The) - Pirkko Vainio
by Hans Christian Andersen
Age Range: 9-11
When the Emperor of China hears the beautiful sound of the Nightingale it brings tears to his eyes. He Emperor wants to keep the Nightingale in a cage so that he can hear its song whenever he wants but the little bird is sad and longs to be free. When a clockwork mechanical nightingale is made for the Emperor he is delighted and no longer yearns for the sound of the real bird. However, it is the Nightingale who is able to charm away death itself towards the end of this well-known tale by Hans Christian Andersen.
Glowing watercolours illustrations by Finnish illustrator Pirkko Vainio capture a real sense of the old China with the rich shades of oranges and purple, traditional Chinese buildings, the careful, intricate detail of the Emperor’s robes with every pattern carefully rendered and the exquisite Nightingale singing in the tree.