A plucky little robin sets out on an epic journey
Through dark forests, driving rain, clapping thunder and flashing lightning
Across frozen wastes, huge mountains and stormy seas he flies
And all the while he's dreaming of home
But will he ever get there?
A beautifully written, lyrical and heart-warming Christmas story with stunning illustrations by Kerry Hyndman.
As a teacher/parent I generally read books alone before reading them to my children, and mostly get as much enjoyment out of them as the children. Not only that I get a feel for the book and can think about things before reading to my children so have some questions or things to talk about with them or point out in the illustrations. I was mesmerised with this book it is so beautifully written for one but the illustrations also add to the magic.
The tale of the Robin making his big migration home for the winter is beautiful, written in poetic form with repeated lines and romantic tones makes the book appeal to adults and children alike. You really get the feel for the Robin's journey and his emotions making it a great snuggle up bed time reading story. My 5 year old son adored the story and was happy laying down for a snuggle at a bed time while I read the tale to him. He sat in silence taking it all in like me just so taken by the story and the poetic form I could see the emotion in his face thinking about the big journey the Robin had to take home.
Reading about the Robin's journey and how long it takes and then reading the migration facts at the back of the book were very interesting as we could talk about how far the Robin had to fly and how they do it every year. My 5 year old was very happy that the Robin made it home for christmas and could be reunited with the girl Robin and the family whose garden they lived in. It certainly sparked conversations about birds and where they might be flying to for a few days after. My boy is a bit bird mad and in a rural setting we see a lot of birds from fantails to tui's and even the odd wood pigeon so he has always marvelled at birds.
I highly recommend this book to other parents as a book that can be read year round but especially treasured around the Christmas season, not your traditional Xhristmas book for children with Santa and reindeers but oh so beautiful and a winner in my eyes. We loved Coming Home and will read it time and time again.
Before I shared this book with Miss Five, I read it through myself. I was totally enchanted - this is quite simply one of the most beautiful children's books I have ever read. It is one of those books that is not just for younger readers: the quality of the prose and the beautiful illustrations which accompany them have just as much appeal for adults of all ages. The style is not that of a conventional children's book at all; rather, it is a tone poem designed to be read aloud which offers as powerful an impression of the robin's journey as the illustrations do.
When I read it with Miss Five, she decided we would take turns reading aloud as she is already quite proficient at sounding out words. However, the style was a little challenging for her, so she decided it was easier to just snuggle up and listen. I found she responded intuitively to some of the poetic techniques without realising she was doing so: when the words repeated, she joined in; when there were rhymes or alliteration, I could see her lips moving as she subconsciously tried to echo the sounds. She was so completely into the flow of the story that it was amazing to watch!
When I had finished the first read through, Miss Five told me she was probably the human friend who was waiting at the window for the robin, and thought we had better read it a second time to make sure he really did get home safely. I did not need much persuasion; I had enjoyed it just as much as she had. But this time we stopped to comment on the events - the snow and the wintry showers that would have made the robin's journey so difficult, the hawk which attacked without warning, the fog that caused the robin to nearly lose his way, the stormy sea that he could not have survived without help. We were relieved to find that at the end of the end of the book the robin arrived safely home - just as he had done the first time we read it!
It was interesting to read the "Robin Migration Facts" at the end of the book. I talked about them with Miss Five, explaining that the book was based on real life events; it was not just an interesting tale of one bird's journey. Miss Five, always ready for a little art on the side, decided to craft her own picture of the robin facing one of his challenges. She took the book away so that she could find some inspiration as to which adventure she would immortalise, surrounding herself with pencils and crayons in anticipation. I am certain that this is a book that will be read many times over, and well loved.
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