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Sunday, July 8, 2018

A Round of Robins, written by Katie Hesteman and illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier. Nancy Paulsen Books, Penguin Random House. 2018. $22.99 ages 4 and up

"Red-Hot Mama

A heater hides on Mama's chest
To warm each egg inside her nest.
With sensors set to incubake
In just a dozen days she'll make
Four little ones all set to hatch -

An up-and-coming birdie batch."

Having just spent some time observing a new round of fledglings learn about life from their parents and then leave the nest (in a tree in my front yard) for good , I was delighted to receive this book and take the time to read it a few times. I hope there is another 'brood' on the way. I haven't heard a lot of early morning bird song lately; perhaps the parents have moved on to a new nest. I will keep my fingers crossed as they seem to have found a quiet, safe place to start a family here.

There are sixteen poems and each helps young readers learn more about this first bird of spring. Every stage of family life is described in rhythmic text, often with humor and always with well-chosen and captivating language.

"Almost a Fledgling

Sleeping, eating, then repeating,
Heading in the right direction.
Changing, growing, and it's showing ...

Now they're fluffs of plump perfection."

Sergio Ruzzier's soft pen and ink and watercolor images capture perfectly the poetic tone. The expressive, humorous birds guarantee rapt attention to their daily lives as they navigate their way from total dependence to glorious freedom.

"Earning Their Wings

Fledglings' spots are fading fast.
Baby days have quickly passed.
Romping robins roam the lawn,
Hunting till the worms are gone.
Zipping through the 'hood in flight,
Roosting with their flock at night -
On their own, they'll be all right!"

Indeed, they will!

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