Tuesday, July 3, 2018

A round of robins by Katie Hesterman, illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier

I know a lot of people love Ruzzier’s illustrations, but I have never been a fan, I’m not really sure why. Something about the colors and the faces just doesn’t click for me. However, I have finally found a book with Ruzzier’s illustrations that I can whole-heartedly recommend.

Hesterman’s cheerful verses tell the story of a robin’s life cycle. Beginning with the male frightening other birds away from their chosen nesting site and Mama robin building a nest, the robins raise their first clutch. Hesterman goes into more scientific detail than one might expect, explaining how the mother robin incubates the babies, their development, hatching, and feeding. There are also quiet verses describing the peace of a spring evening, humorous moments as the father robin defends his territory, and delightful language like “fluffs of plump perfection.” The robins grow, fledge, and fly away, and the original parents begin the process all over again, raising a new clutch.

Ruzzier’s illustrations are carefully correct, showing the building of the nest, development of the chicks, and fledging. They’re also funny, with big, cartoon eyes, silly expressions, and all the squabbles of bird life shown in a very human-like way. Some spreads show soft pink, orange, and blue pastel backgrounds, fluffy clouds, and soft stripes of color. These are interspersed with spreads that show the birds, eggs, and nest against a white background, making them pop out of the page. The mother robin dreams of cute baby robins, the blue eggs line up against the page, ready to hatch.

Verdict: This would make a delightful addition to a bird storytime or lesson, as well as a nice mix of poetry and science. Recommended.

ISBN: 9780399547782; Published 2018 by Nancy Paulsen/Penguin; Review copy provided by publisher; Donated to the library

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