A robin travels alone for many miles to reach his mate by Christmas.
In beautifully poetic language, Morpurgo portrays the urgency of the bird’s longing to return home. The robin encounters dangers along his migration path, from rain, snow, and stormy seas to a narrow escape from a hawk. Recounting the robin’s journey in first-person verse casts the bird’s voice in a counterpoint to lovely illustrations of a landscape often shown literally from a bird’s-eye view. Repetition of words and motifs echo the rhythm of his wings and heartbeat in a sometimes-plaintive voice: “Dream of home, think only of her, / Waiting for me, looking for me, longing for me. / Beat, my wings, beat faster. / Easy, my heart, go steady. / Steady.” The robin joins a flock of thrushes “over sun-dancing sea” before, suddenly lost in a dense fog, the robin spies a fishing boat to rest on. Choppy waves and the little bird’s disorientation are expertly captured in images that break from the pattern, the action slowing down as he reaches the boat, then looks up to see a person looming over him. Finally warm, fed, and rested, he’s released by friendly hands over a calm sea to finish his journey. Migration information at the beginning explains that the Scandinavian robin migrates south to Britain around Christmastime.
A highly unusual picture book to satisfy the heart of anyone who enjoys making the natural world part of a Christmas celebration. (Picture book. 3-7)