Chirri & Chirra series by Kaya Doi & Yuki Kaneko (Translator)

Thanks to Earl Dizon at The Chronicles Of A Children's Book Writer for introducing me to this series!

Chirri & Chirra are twins who have adventures while riding on their bicycles. Dring-dring, dring-dring! transitions the two girls into new experiences in all the books as they pedal their way into and through fantastical lands. Although I have listed these in the order of their publication, they do not need to be read in order. Clicking on the title links will take you to the Goodreads page for the books. 

In the first one, Chirri & Chirra, they head off into the forest where they discover a cafe that has different sized tables to accommodate different sized creatures. I now want to try some acorn coffee! They continue pedalling through the forest to a bakery where they purchase treats to eat while enjoying a picnic under a tree.

In the second book, Chirri & Chirra: In the Tall Grass, the twins end up travelling through tall grass near their home. They become small to enter the worlds of bees, flower chafers, lizards and fireflies.

In Chirri & Chirra, The Snowy Day, The girls end up riding their bikes in the snow. Eventually they a door of ice that takes them into a world of animals where they find "hot fruit punch with apples and cinnamon." In the great hall they end up playing marbles made from "frozen buds of many kinds of flowers". You will have to read the book yourself to find out what happens to those marvellous marbles.

Each of these books highlights delightful treats. I am lusting after "honey sponge cake balls wrapped in flower petals." As soon as I am back in Vancouver, BC, I'm searching for a Japanese bakery or restaurant where I can find these!

Kaya Doi's colour pencil drawings create a whimsical world to get lost in. I found myself pouring over the pages and savouring the details. Her interest in environmental and animal welfare issues manifests itself in each of these books in different ways. What is prominent is an inclusive democracy of all living things. Her books celebrate connection and a coming together of all of us, where every being gets what is 'just right for them."

When I read the first one, I wasn't really sure how well these books would be received by children. To be honest, I'm still wondering about their responses to these. They they are charming and impart a significant message for all of us about living in optimum relationship with our world, but they aren't flashy or witty. I read through review after review on Goodreads in search of feedback and found a few that claim their children enjoyed them. My two grandchildren are not ready for them, but I will definitely introduce them to these girls when they are older.

I am looking forward to reading Chirri & Chirra, Underground and Chirri & Chirra, on the Town!

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