A Round of Robins

illus. by Sergio Ruzzier. 40p. Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Bks. Mar. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780399547782.
RedReviewStarSixteen poems follow a pair of robin parents as they raise not one but two sets of baby robins in this factual and funny volume. The story begins with "Defender Dad" telling three annoyed-looking birds on the ground to "Back away, / 'Cause Mom and I are here to stay!" It continues with "Home Sweet Home": "Mama is an architect; / With skill and patience, she'll collect / Bits of twig, string, wool, and hair / To form a tiny, twiney lair." Hesterman's poems are brief, informative, highly entertaining, and very easy to read, with little jokes but also using correct terminology, such as calling the group of four eggs in "EGGcessories" a clutch. Ruzzier's personality-filled and amusing pen-and-ink and watercolor pictures build on the signature orange of a robin's breast, extending that color to tree limbs and hills; his robins feature correct bird anatomy but add ways of standing and angling their wings that are comically reminiscent of humans. Individual poems stand alone, but the book is also short and lively enough for a full read-through. Sharp-eyed kids at story times may notice that the eggs from the opening endpapers are hatching on the closing ones. susan dove lempke

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