This Is the NEST That ROBIN Built – Perfect Picture Book Friday

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Title: This is the NEST that ROBIN Built, with a little help from her friends

Author & Illustrator: Denise Fleming

Publisher: Beach Lane Books, 2018

Ages: 4-8

Themes: nests, robins, chicks, help, rhythm



This is the SQUIRREL
who trimmed the twigs, not too big,
that anchor the nest that Robin built.


A robin’s animal friends help build her nest in this cumulative collage picture book.

Robin is building a nest, and her friends are ready to help! The squirrel trims the twigs. The dog brings the string. The horse shares his straw. And a pig, a mouse and a rabbit all do their part. And then a surprise gatefold spread reveals how Robin knits them all together to make a safe and cozy home for her babies.

Why I like this book:

I think this is my all time favorite riff on “The house that Jack built.” It takes common animals from the countryside and farm embedded in the the familiar punchy rhyming rhythm we know well. I love all the building materials mentioned in their layers, and the combined texture of print-making and collage provide the perfect medium to portray the structure of a Robin’s nest. Denise printed all the papers (monoprint), then cut them up and collaged them to create the final illustration. Color and texture create wonderful patterns.

Children should check the pages for more than just the six familiar animals mentioned…. Mice, a rooster, a frog, insects, ladybugs… The pages pulse with spring life, not just from the level of animation in the illustrations, but also the wonderful action verbs: trim, anchor, wrap…

 I love the unexpected fledgling finale too!

This is a great tongue-twister of a read-aloud to herald spring in the classroom.


Maybe take your children out into the playground/park to see if they can be Robin’s helper and find all the raw material necessary to build a nest.This story is a sweet introduction to nest-building and the life cycle of a robin.

Make a bird’s nest STEM project for kids.

Don’t miss this interview I did with Denise a couple of years ago. 

Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.


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9 Responses to This Is the NEST That ROBIN Built – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. Oh my good gracious, the bird lover in me is in heaven. How absolutely clever and adorable. Thank you for putting this treasure on my radar.

  2. Clever use of a well-known structure. Checking my library now! Thanks for the review.

  3. Barb says:

    Oh I love this! I’m also a big fan of “This is the House That Jack Built”. I’ll be keeping an eye out for it!

  4. Jilanne Hoffmann says:

    This sounds like a perfect mash-up of an old rhyme and one of mother nature’s builders. Love it! Will be adding this to my TBR pile. Thanks, Joanna, for the rec!

  5. Julie Rowan-Zoch says:

    Great storytime pick for spring!

  6. Andrea Mack says:

    Oh, I want to find this one! Looks great for kindergarten students!

  7. Oh, I’ve been wanting to find a book like this about birds. I love the sense of community. What a beautiful book. I heard recently that you should put cut hair on a close line so that birds can line the inside of their nests with hair. My hairdresser does it. Birds love it.

  8. Patricia Nozell says:

    What a beautiful celebration of spring & community. I love the collaged artwork!

  9. I’ve been waiting for this one to come out. I am glad that you find it as good as I had hoped it would be. Now to find a copy.

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