In this debut picture book, a voiceless robin learns how to communicate with other animals.
A little robin is just like other birds, except he can’t make a single noise. But one day, a friendly old goat notices the robin, realizes he can’t speak, and comes up with an idea. Inviting the robin to ride on his back, the goat takes the bird to meet some friends, who can maybe teach him their own noises. The bear shows the robin how to roar, the snake how to hiss, the owl to hoot, and the cricket to chirp. The robin tries to imitate these sounds, but nothing comes out. Just then, though, the animals notice that the robin has been making gestures, and they correctly guess each one’s meaning: stretching his wings out signifies the bird is scared, for example. Flapping his wings means he’s happy—and the robin is delighted now to have good friends who care about understanding him. The final page vividly shows children how to sign, not sing, like a robin, using American Sign Language. Legg’s warmhearted tale seems clearly meant as an allegory for deaf children, and the message—that it’s OK to be different when you have friends who get you—remains affirming to kids with disabilities. On the other hand, the robin isn’t deaf but only mute, making it harder for deaf children to relate. Zandona’s (My Toothbrush Ran Away, 2017, etc.) illustrations are bright, cheery, and express the uplifting story’s emotions well.
An encouraging animal tale with an important message for children with disabilities.