A pourquoi tale for Christmastime.
Fearnley’s story stops just short of explicitly stating that its aim is to explain how the robin got its red breast, but readers are invited to draw this conclusion. On the cover, a white and brown bird is clad in a red knitted vest and glides across the ice. The half-title page shows the same bird flying, but then on the title page the bird is vest-free, its feathered, white breast showing. The first spread in the book proper shows Little Robin admiring his reflection in a mirror while wearing a knitted white vest decorated with a holly pattern. Six vests of other colors appear on hangers around his tree-hollow home, but none is the red one from the frontmatter. Subsequent spreads show the bighearted Little Robin wearing and then giving away each of these vests when he encounters others animal out in the cold. White, green, pink, yellow, blue, purple, and orange vests are gifted to a frog, hedgehog, mole, squirrel, rabbit (who cleverly wears the vest as a hat in the illustrations, its ears poking through the arm holes), mother and baby otter, and mouse, respectively, until poor Little Robin is left shivering in the cold, vest-less. So who saves the day and provides Little Robin with a red vest for his breast? Santa, of course (here depicted as a white human).
A cozy Christmas re(a)d. (Picture book. 3-6)