In this wordless picture book, a fledgling robin with a vivid imagination keeps resisting its father’s encouragement to fly.
The first double-page spread clearly and cleverly shows a sequence in which a young robin in its nest passes gradually from the stage of pink and un-feathered to fluffy and then flight-ready. The father robin has been busily stuffing the child’s beak with whole worms, another signal that the youngster is maturing. Bold brush strokes and strong colors depict the birds, their nest on a branch, and surrounding foliage—with plenty of negative space to make room for speech bubbles. The “speech” consists of clear images showing a comical struggle between parent and child. Most of the “conversation” takes place on the ground, after the fledgling has inadvertently tumbled from its nest. The anthropomorphic facial expressions and body language are laugh-out-loud funny, as are the fledgling’s ridiculous, naïve pictorial retorts to every reason the adult gives for learning to fly. The baby imagines itself using all kinds of transportation—including, but not limited to, gaily colored hot air balloons, skateboards, and trains—and the father becomes increasingly frustrated. Children will giggle at the power struggle, recognizing human behaviors. Robins, like humans, share all aspects of parenting, and it is commendable that the art depicts this parent as male. As nightfall approaches, the adult finally succeeds in motivating its child, leading to a harmonious concluding scene.
Funny, feathery finesse. (Picture book. 2-5)