Punchy poems that beg to be read aloud follow a pair of robins through parenthood.
Dad sings a “Turf Tune” to defend his territory from other birds, while “Mama is an architect” fashioning the nest. Mama robin lays four eggs and uses her body heat to “incubake” them. (Hesterman alternates solid vocabulary—“lair,” “clutch,” “slumber,” “fledgling”—with delightful made-up words.) After they hatch, “Beaks wide open, eyes closed tight, / Wobble, bobble, heads upright. / Patchy bodies missing feathers / Huddle-cuddle close together.” The largest wins the worm tug of war, but all the babies are shown getting plump and growing their feathers. Dad chases off all other birds from his domain as the fledglings start to fly and find worms for themselves. And when these four fly off? Mama and Dad start all over again. Hesterman’s rhymes and rhythms are spot-on and will hold rapt both lap readers and storytime audiences, the onomatopoeia adding to the fun: “Pip, pip, an eggshell chip. / Peck, peck, a bright blue fleck. / Tweak, tweak, a peeking beak, // C-R-R-R-A-C-K-E-D… / All unpacked!” Ruzzier’s pen-and-ink–and watercolor illustrations show cartoon robins with anthropomorphic poses and facial expressions in a habitat that seems a combination of Dr. Seuss and the scenery from Road Runner.
An enjoyably rhythmic slice of robin life for young naturalists and bird-watchers. (Informational picture book. 3-6)