A mother robin builds a nest with a little help from nearby creatures.
It starts with the squirrel, “who trimmed the twigs, not too big, / that anchor the nest that Robin built.” Then the dog brings string, the horse shares straw, the pig mixes mud, and so on. It’s a riff on the classic rhyme “This Is the House That Jack Built,” but Fleming keeps the text fresh with additional rhyming adjectives. Whether “not too big,” “long and strong,” or “soft not soupy,” each new item Robin receives has its own specifications. Thus, the cumulative story expertly reinforces narrative comprehension while also building vocabulary. Fleming combines her signature printmaking techniques with collage to make beautifully textured illustrations filled with natural tones and repeated patterns. The creatures are mostly to scale, some fitting within the book and some extending beyond its pages. Though the animals change with each page turn, readers will enjoy spotting the tiny ladybugs hidden in each illustration. The narrow portrait trim size expands with a final gatefold that flips the structure of the verse to conclude with the new, “rumpled and ruffled” fledglings flying away—a satisfying conclusion.
An avian revision of a classic rhyme that soars. (Picture book. 3-7)