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Terri Tatchell
Tarsier Sings His Song
Tarsier sings a duet every dawn and every dusk, just hoping one day, his true love will answer back. A neighbour bear cuscus takes it upon himself to cheer the tiny tarsier up and teach him to sing a happy song. A lot of singing and laughter fills the jungle, but that night, tarsier still sings his sad song. Will his friend stand by him and continue to cheer him up if she doesn't answer? Will she ever answer? On the surface, "Tarsier Sings His Song" is about a Tarsier being cheered up by his friends while he waits for his dreams to come true. Look deeper, and it's a story about staying true to yourself, the value of friendship, and being open to learning from creatures that are different than you. .
An adorable tarsier searches for his true love in this delightful fourth picture book of the Endangered and Misunderstood Animals series by Tatchell. Tarsie, who sings when the sun rises and sets each day, seems mournful to his friends –a bear cuscus, a hornbill, and a crested macaque who all live together in the jungle. When he explains his sadness is because he’s “waited for so long” for a female tarsier to join his duet, his pals vow to help him get noticed. Each animal friend has a special skill to teach—from the hornbill’s hint on flapping his arms to the macaque’s suggestions of kissing the sky between notes — that may give Tarsie the confidence he needs to finally find his partner.

Tatchell has created a skillful blend of education and entertainment on every page. Readers will learn intriguing facts about little-known animals, such as the cuscus bear’s love of cocoa plants and macaque’s preference for fresh fruit, but the fun doesn’t stop there. Tatchell’s appealing characters evoke the bond of friendship as they rush to help Tarsie discover happiness, and their unique advice lands him magical results. Tatchell’s lilting verses work to mimic the natural rhythm of Tarsie’s world, as when he playfully sings “I am a friendly tarsier/who munches flying things./I snatch them from mid-air because/I like to crunch their wings.”

Ivan Sulima’s illustrations are deep, harmonious reflections of survival in the wild. In the night-time scenes particularly, Sulima’s cool palettes conjure the mystery of jungle life, and his bold graphics will quickly grab readers’ attention. True to the story’s conservationist bent, Tatchell includes fast facts at the end about the featured animals as well as how-to instructions for sketching them. Any fan of endangered species—or animal lovers in general—will cherish this uplifting tale.

Takeaway: A young tarsier learns to sing his true love’s tune with the help of his endangered friends.

Great for fans of: Thyra Heder’s The Bear Report, Rosanne Parry’s A Whale of the Wild.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A