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THE ROBIN WHO WOULDN'T FLY

A. P. Campbell.
Illustrations by Linda Sanborn.

Ottawa, Borealis Press, c1981.
unpaged, paper, $14.95 (cloth), $6.95 (paper).
ISBN 0-88887-940-7 (cloth), 0-88887-938-5 (paper).


K-Grade 3.
Reviewed by Fran Newman.

Volume 11 Number 6.
1983 November.


Anthropomorphism can be a joy, as in Frances, Charlotte, or Winnie. But when the protagonist is as unlikeable as the one found here, the idea has little merit. Eric, the robin, is "disgusted" when his siblings Flora and Pierre fly about the yard. It's feet for him; he wishes to run as swiftly as the squirrels in their yard. He is rude and argumentative when speaking to his mother. (What can we make of the sentence: "That's all you people think aboutóworms.") Eric refuses to think about winter coming: just "fairy tales" he scoffs, refusing to migrate. Later, when it becomes frigid, he hides in a woodchuck hole from which he is rescued by Tommy, the boy of the house. Taken in, he learns to be a house bird, becoming "careful not to light on the kitchen table or to touch food not placed near his nest." By the next spring, he joins his returned family and becomes a conformist, even marrying Becky and living "busily" ever after. Beatrix Potter was able to insert wonderful vocabulary in her stories meant for this age group, but one wonders at this bird "cynically" watching the others with a "smirk" or "trundling snow-flakes" or hopping "conventionally."

Illustrations are two-colour uninspired. In these days of skinny budgets, librarians are very careful to spend $6.95 wisely. This paperback will not be chosen by many. Not recommended.


Fran Newman, Spring Brighton, ON.
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