Robins! How They Grow Up

by Eileen Christelow

Clarion Books
48 pages ISBN:9780544442894

USA TODAY says ★★★★ stars. “Stuffed with information, much of it fascinating and likely to be a surprise even to adult readers.”

“Fresh and inviting, here’s the go-to book for children curious about robins.”Booklist, ★ starred review

“A glossary and other details about robins conclude this insightful study of an unflashy but fascinating bird.”Publishers Weekly

“…as infectious as the ubiquitous bird’s own ‘Cheerily-cheerily, cheerily-cheerup, cheerup!'”Kirkus

Christelow’s accurate illustrations are action filled and make excellent use of panels to depict multiple perspectives on bird poses and behavior, as well as moment-by-moment events…”Horn Book, ★ starred review

Winner of a Riverby Award from the John Burroughs Association —2018

Finalist for 2018 AAAS/Subaru Children’s Science Book Prize

The Story:

We all know robins have red breasts. But what else do we know?

—How many eggs does the mom robin lay?

—How long until the eggs hatch?

—How big is a newborn baby robin?

—How old are robins when they leave their nest?

—How do little robins learn to fly?

—How do they learn to find food?

—Who are their predators?

You will find the answers to these questions—and more— as two young robins tell their story of growing up and learning to fend for themselves.

The Idea:

Several years ago a robin built a nest on a hoe in our garden shed. But my husband was planning to use it so he moved the nest. By the next day the robin had built another nest…on the hoe.

“She needs it more than you!” I told my husband.

For the next few weeks, every time we entered the shed, Mama robin would dart out and scold us from a nearby tree. And that started a quest: I wanted to know more about these bossy red-breasted neighbors. I paid more attention to life in our garden, discovered other nests, read books, searched the web and took pictures.

A book started to take shape.

The Illustrations:

This book is non-fiction so I wanted to draw REAL robins. I needed to change my drawing style. (See the pages below.) How do their feathers function? How do their legs work? How many toes? What shape is the beak? How does the tail work?

I took hundreds of photos and found thousands helpful images on the Internet.

But these two little robins telling their story are drawn in my usual ‘cartoon style’…because robins don’t really speak ‘human’…do they?

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