The Robin Makes a Laughing Sound

The Robin Makes A Laughing Sound: A Birder’s Observations
Written and illustrated by Sallie Wolf
Pages designed by Micah Bornstein
Imagine! Publishers

Bird observations told in poetry, sketches, lists, and questions conveyed in a journal-scrapbook format.

  • NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book
  • Starred review, School Library Journal

School Library Journal – starred review

“Wolf’s journal/sketchbook is arranged in eight-page sections by season, each beginning with a list of avian visitors. The charming, eye-catching format includes short dated nature notes written in script, some of them on glued or taped-in torn paper pieces; other paper scraps contain short typeset poems and small, labeled watercolors. . . . Two pages of author’s notes explain how Wolf became interested in birds as a result of a seventh-grade project, and how she developed her journaling style. A page of resources includes several outstanding Web sites, some top-notch guides, and books on birding. This small, instructional guide may provide the inspiration for young authors with even a bit of artistic talent to begin keeping nature journals of their own.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Thoughtful questions . . . and brief cursive notes . . . pepper the pages, and the winsome poems range from nursery-rhyme style . . . to more matter-of-fact free-verse observations of bird behavior. The journal’s most charming aspects, however, are the artful sketches and watercolor paintings–and the endearingly childlike sense of wonder reflected throughout.”

Publishers Weekly

“This journal strikes a pensive and tranquil note, emphasizing the simple joys to be found in observing nature, birds in particular, rather than providing specific tactics for identifying species. Cursive lists of North American birds appear under a heading for each season, followed by a collage of bird sketches in ink and watercolor, journal entries, and careful observations that take the form of tender, sometimes surprising poems: “A pair of nuthatches used to visit my feeder every day./ That was before West Nile virus/ spread from bird to bird.” It should find an audience in nature-lovers, writers, and other contemplative readers.”

NSTA Recommends

“Delightfully written and exquisitely illustrated, this book gives children and adults a glimpse of a birder’s journal. The author, a noted poet, shows her notes, draft sketches, and watercolors as she observes birds. Then her completed poems reflect her curiosity and fascination with what she’s learned.

“This NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book . . . is a great model for student journals. The metacognition of the author as she thinks about what she knows and what she wants to know will help students understand the processes of science—especially observation and questioning. It also contains a great deal of concrete information about backyard birds and their behaviors. This is not only a great tool for teaching science and communication arts but also a book that you’ll want to hug.”

laurasalas blog

“This book, The Robin Makes a Laughing Sound (Charlesbridge, 2010), by Sallie Wolf, is a lovely book representation of a birder’s art journal. It has sketches, paintings, words, phrases, lists, and poems. . . .

“I think this could make a great book to have students use as a model. What a fun way to bring content area, wordplay, art, observation all together in one project!”

Pink Me blog

“Do you have a journal? A place to make lists, sketch things, glue in a clipping or a feather or a scrap of cloth? This is a book that asks, “If not, why not?”

“This extremely first-person book of poetry, prose and sketches is ostensibly about birds. But, like many books that are ostensibly about birds, it is really about being alive to the world around you. . . .

“Modest in size, with a design palette as muted as a winter day, with glowing accents like holly berries, this accessible little book will inspire readers to look around and listen, and to record the small events they witness.”