Rating: (1-5, 5 is a starred review) 5
What did you like about the book From both the exclamation point on the cover and the beautifully painted intimate illustrations of a robin family, one knows almost immediately that they are holding in their hands the work of an enthusiastic, passionate-about-her-subject author-illustrator.
Eileen Christelow takes delight in telling the story of two robin “teenagers” and how they came to be living in the backyard. The narrative is written in a light, airy, conversational style (complete with additional speech bubbles) but the content is well researched and fact-based. From migration to diet, nest-building to predators, she spins out a narrative accompanied by engaging illustrations. Many of the spreads feature panels (a la comics) and a fair amount of white space adding to their visual appeal.
She does not shy away from difficult aspects of the robins’ life such as the squirrels that eat some of the eggs and the brother who is taken by a hawk. They are handled in a matter-of-fact way and despite our talking sibling robins, the birds are not anthropomorphized and given human feelings.
Using a chronological text structure, we learn about the robins from the time the male robin migrates north (prior to the babies’ birth) to the family’s return south when the offspring are about five months old. An author’s note, glossary, additional facts and sources complete this wonderful addition to narrative nonfiction.
Anything you didn’t like about it? No, this book is a gem.
To whom would you recommend this book? / Who should buy this book? Preschools, Elementary School Libraries and Public Libraries
Where would you shelve it? Nonfiction
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Nancy Riemer Kellner, Peaslee Elementary School Library, Northborough, MA
Date of review: 2/13/2017