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Author: Cole, Henry
Two robins build a nest together and raise their chicks, navigating a year of changing seasons and serpentine predators.
Kirkus Reviews (+) (11/15/19)
School Library Journal (01/01/20)
Booklist (+) (12/01/19)
The Hornbook (00/03/20)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 12/01/2019 *Starred Review* A male robin’s song drifts through the spring air, attracting the attention of a female. As a pair, they find the perfect tree in which to build their nest, where the female lays four eggs, naturally rendered in robin egg blue—the book’s only color. For the majority of the illustrations, Cole uses black Micron pen to line and crosshatch scenes of incredible detail and beauty, filling full- and double-page spreads with the robin parents’ activities and that of their growing babies. Drama blows through in the form of a storm and, later, a hungry snake, but the family makes it safely through both scenarios. Finally, the babies grow big enough to fly and feed themselves, fattening up for the arrival of winter. Though considered fiction, everything in this story is true to nature, which is unsurprising considering Cole’s past as a science teacher. He uses limited but smoothly written text to describe a year in these robins’ lives, appending a page of robin facts to the end of the story. The arresting artwork is large enough to share in a group setting, but youngsters will also want to pore over its many details. This would make a lovely companion to Rita Gray’s Have You Heard the Nesting Bird? (2014) or Kevin Henkes’ When Spring Comes (2016). - Copyright 2019 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 01/01/2020 PreS-Gr 3—A robin heralds the arrival of spring with a mating song from an apple tree. A female hears him and together they gather twigs and leaves for a nest. Soon there is a lovely blue egg, then three more. She keeps them warm, sitting and waiting, and in about two weeks there are four blind, featherless hungry babies. Now the parents are busy feeding and protecting them. They each make many trips bringing juicy worms and caterpillars to the nest. One day, a snake slithers up the tree, threatening the little family. Mother and Father do what they can to drive the predator away. Relentlessly, they dive and swoop, dive and swoop until the snake falls to the ground. In a few weeks, the babies fill the nest, feathered and grown. Now they can look for their own food. Cole's nature sketches reveal a keen eye and hand; the birds are shown from different angles up close and from afar. The artwork is done with a black micron pen with an occasional blue acrylic wash for sky or eggs. VERDICT A stellar offering. Nature lovers of all ages will enjoy this beautiful, informative book.—Barbara Auerbach, Cairo Public Library, NY - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.