Friday, March 16, 2012

The Story of the Easter Robin

Combining traditional Pennsylvania Dutch folklore with a modern story of a worried little girl, Dandi Daley Mackall's The Story of the Easter Robin makes an interesting addition to any family's collection of Easter books.

Tressa is worried the robin living in her grandmother's tree is laying her eggs too early. Gran reminds her that God will take care of the robin and her eggs. "See that bare spot on her red breast?" Gran says. "God made her so she could warm her babies through that brood patch." Still, Tressa is unsure, especially when a cold snap hits the day before Easter.

Gran tries to distract Tressa by blowing out some eggs, dying them robin's egg blue, and adding paper wings to them - a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition. As Tressa and Gran work on these Easter birds, Gran tells the legend behind the robin's red breast.

Years ago, a robin flying over Jerusalem recognized Jesus on the cross. (Gran says, "All earth's creatures, except humans, recognized Jesus - the Creator-God come to earth.") In despair, the robin sees an especially long thorn stabbing Jesus' head; using all its strength, it pulls the thorn away from Christ.

"And as it came out, a drop of Jesus' blood fell onto the robin's breast, staining it red from that day to this. 'Ever since,' Gran said, 'the robin's red breast reminds us of Christ's sacrifice and how much he cares. The robin's song is the first sign of spring, helping us remember that after Christ died, he rose again on that first Easter.''"
On Easter morning, when Tressa goes outside to hang the egg-birds on Gran's tree, she finds bits of real blue robin's eggs on the ground. Looking into the robin's nest, she sees with relief that the robin's babies are alive and well. "'God takes care of his creatures,' Gran whispered." And Tressa says a prayer, thanking God for the robins - and for Jesus.
What I Like: The illustrations by Anna Vojtech are both beautiful and detail oriented, adding a great deal to the story. I also appreciate the combination of nature studies (learning a wee bit about robins) and the Easter story woven into a book that makes it easy for those of us who have robins in the neighborhood to remind our kids about the true meaning of Easter.
What I Dislike: Nothing.
Overall Rating: Very good.
Age Appeal: 4 - 8
Publishing Info: Zonderkidz; 2010; ISBN: 978-0310713319; hardback, 32 pgs., $15.99.LinkBuy Now at Amazon for $10.87
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Special Info: Read our reviews of other books by Dandi Daley Mackal.

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