Okay, I totally admit that if I see Michael Morpurgo's name on a book, I will instantly reach for it. He writes with a poignancy that really resonates with me whether it's about an animal or a human being with a difficult choice. So when I saw this picture book and it had his name on it and it was about coming home and it had a bird up close and personal as the star, I had to go there.
This one met all my demands. This is about a courageous robin who is determined to get home. He sets out on his journey and honestly, after flying with him for page after page, you are astounded at how much internal power is in these tiny, practically weightless creatures. This guy faces off against all kinds of adversity from the winds to the hawks.
This is a story of avian struggle and determination but, of course, it could be describing the struggle of anyone of us. It "ain't" easy being a bird who has a migration issue. The rest of us in the flock of living beings have our own versions of that journey. Maybe we don't meet a hawk along the way and maybe we aren't tossed into the ocean at least literally, but we sure as heck have some first hand experiences of our own that feel the same.
Life can be hard. We need our friends to shelter us sometimes and feed us raisins. If we are lucky, we also might have "home" waiting for us.
Heartfelt, soaring, inspiring, and beautifully empathetic to each of us as we flap those wings and keep looking ahead and moving forward knowing we belong, we have what it takes and we can find the love we deserve. Meant to be a Christmas reunion story but easily shared at any time of year.
32 pages 978-1536200423 Ages 5-9 (and many adults)
Recommended by: Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com
Longing carries a lone robin home for Christmas in a tender, universal tale that will resonate with families anticipating a joyful holiday reunion.
A plucky robin, lost and alone, sets out on an epic journey, guided only by a call in his heart saying “come home!” He wills his wings to beat faster, lifting him over great mountains and dark forests, through blinding blizzards and rolling fog, across the wide, wild sea. Can he find his way back to his family in time for Christmas? Combined with Kerry Hyndman’s striking illustrations of the red-breasted bird against a sweeping, snowy terrain, Michael Morpurgo’s poetic narrative will stir any reader who has ever yearned to reunite with loved ones or welcome them home.--from the publisher