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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

This Is the Nest That Robin Built with a little help from her friends, written and illustrated by Denise Fleming. Beach Lane Books, Simon and Schuster, 2018. $23.99 ages 3 and up

"This is the HORSE
who shared his straw,
rough and tough,
that covers the string,
long and strong,
that wraps round the twigs,
not too big,
that anchor the nest that
Robin built.

This is the PIG ... "

I have always looked forward to a new book from Denise Fleming. Many of our favorites when the kids were young were authored by her. In this cumulative tale, she celebrates the tenacity of one of my favorite birds - the robin. Every spring, I am delighted to hear robin song and know they are here to rebuild their nest on top of a service cable box on the back wall of my house. Fun to watch as they build, lay eggs, rear their young nestlings and, if I am ever lucky enough, watch those fledglings take their first flight - and be gone!

In this cumulative tale, Ms. Fleming notes that the robin gets help from a number of animal friends to ensure the structure and safety of the nest that will be home to a new clutch. A squirrel provides twigs, a dog string, a horse shares straw, a pig mud, a mouse seedy weeds, a rabbit grass ... all in preparation for the three blue eggs that will fill that space and become a new family in quick time.

Using lovely alliterative, rhymed-filled text to describe each animal's contribution to the build, she builds an engaging repetitive story worthy of repeated readings. The gorgeous artwork uses a new technique that combines original printmaking techniques prior to being assembled in collage images. The textures evoke the many natural materials used to build this very special nest, and the colors are breathtaking and real.

Young readers will love searching for the tiny ladybugs on each spread, and will very much appreciate the foldout that reiterates the process leading to the birth of three tiny nestlings. They will also feel joy at watching the fledglings leave their nest to make their own way in life. Mama's work for this spring is done!

Lively, celebratory and infinitely rewarding.

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