By Debbie Ouellet, illustrated by Nicoletta Ceccoli
Christy Ottavino Books/Henry Holt, 2009.
Robin thought hard. The only thing he owned of value was his beautiful singing voice. “I shall give you my voice,” he said. Chir-up, chir-ee, tweedle-ee-dee. He sang the grandest song ever heard.
You’ve got to bring your game if you’re collaborating with Italian illustrator Nicoletta Ceccoli. Her images are so lush and luminous, you feel you could fall into the pages if you leaned just a little too forward. If the story isn’t equally compelling, your end result is noticeably lopsided. (Case in point: “The Tear Thief.”) Happily, “How Robin Saved Spring” tells a mesmerizing story: Lady Winter plots to keep her sister, Spring, asleep so the seasons won’t change and the world will stay cold and white forever. Led by Robin (yes, the bird, not Batman’s sidekick), the animals of the forest – and a sensitive maple tree – attempt to wake Sister Spring, but all must pay a price for their bravery. Quietly clever storytelling.