7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #687: Featuring Henry Cole

h1 April 19th, 2020 by jules


Have you seen Henry Cole’s Nesting (Katherine Tegen Books, March 2020) yet? The story follows a robin, whom we meet on a spring morning when the ground is covered in frost. The robin sings, calling forth a female robin — and the two birds build a nest. Once they have finished creating the nest, the mother robins settles in and lays “smooth and blue” eggs. When they hatch, the parents feed their babies and protect them from storms and predators. (There is a satisfying and dramatic encounter with a snake.) Eventually, the baby birds take flight and “grow strong and can feed themselves. Their wings take them anywhere they want to go.” The close of the story, the nest now covered in snow, brings us to winter with the promise of spring arriving again, which is how we readers began this adventure.

Cole’s pen and acrylic illustrations use color sparingly; the blue of the eggs pops off the pages, and that same hue is used on the endpages and occasionally for the sky — but this blue is the only use of color. Cole’s eloquent drawings show much attention to detail, and he uses paneling to great effect in several illustrations. The book closes with facts about robins; Cole was once a science teacher, and his passion for the subject matter is evident here in this author’s note and the elegantly structured story that comes before it. Children will learn about robins (and never once are the birds anthropomorphized). But they can also be reminded of the lengths parents go to in order to take care of their young (whether feathered or not).

Roger Sutton recently had a Horn Book chat with Cole here. (They primarily discuss another 2020 book from Cole, called One Little Bag: An Amazing Journey.) Here are some spreads from Nesting so that the art can do the talking.



“They begin to build a nest. …”
(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


“She lays an egg.
It is smooth and blue.”

(Click spread to enlarge)


“One afternoon, a storm comes! The wind blows and rain pours.
The babies are kept safe. The storm passes.”

(Click spread to enlarge)


“The robins fight back! They dive and swoop!”
(Click spread to enlarge)


(Click cover to enlarge)


* * * * * * *

NESTING. Copyright © 2020 by Henry Cole. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, New York.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

1) This beautiful book.

2) Reading reading reading …

3) I got to have (another) chat yesterday with author Lois Lowry. This time it was an online event at Brookline Booksmith, a bookstore in the Boston area. That was fun.

4) New music.

5) Catching up with friends.

6) Health.

7) Home.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

7 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #687: Featuring Henry Cole”

  1. What a gorgeous book. I love the illustrations so much with the grey tones and the blue.
    Jules, how wonderful to speak with Lois Lowry and I agree, this book this week is kick worthy.
    My kicks:
    1. Seeing crows on my walk gathering twigs for a nest. ( see why this week’s book touched me).
    2. The variety of bird visiting our deck.
    3. Walks.
    4. Organizing.
    5. Highlights Foundation on line webinars.
    6. Reading.
    7. Meeting with friends via Zoom.
    7.5 Talking abut Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime with Zoom book club.
    Have a good week.

  2. Hello, Imps! Hi Henry! Hi Robin! Such a pretty blue.

    Jules: What a cool opportunity. Go you. 🙂

    Jone: Say hello to the birds for me!

    1) Auditions
    2) Bookings
    3) Correspondence
    4) Debut
    5) Energy
    6) Friends
    7) Good helpers

  3. Wow! The detail in the nest and then that pop of blue is so arresting.

    Jules -health, home, and lots of reading (including today’s book), and new music are such wonderful kicks.

    Jone – hooray for all the birds visiting your deck, reading, and zoom meet ups.

    Little Willow – love all your kicks, especially 5,6 & 7 as we all need energy, friends, & good helpers right now.

    My kicks this week:
    1) What We Do In the Shadows (the tv series). Its the perfect amount of ridiculously silly.
    2) New Fiona Apple album Fetch the Boltcutters.
    3) This photo of two penguins enjoying the view of Melbourne together and the caption with the backstory: https://www.instagram.com/p/B-LLuW0q2mH/
    4) Super soft and cozy sweats for all the WFH on the couch.
    5) Its International Dark Sky Week. https://www.darksky.org/ The nerd in me loves that they have free lectures and activities available for the whole week.
    6) Another nerdy find this week that brought me joy:
    https://www.zooniverse.org/projects The site has a list of ongoing projects in need of help from citizen scientists.
    7) This kick is bittersweet. One of the feral kitties in my neighborhood got attacked by a coyote some weeks ago. He seemed to be recovering ok at first, but then a wound looked to be infected and he started declining. I’d nicknamed this one Scruffy as over the past few years he has occasionally let me pet him and would purr. It took 2 weeks, and me putting out a medium pet carrier for a few days, but on Monday morning when I went outside he meowed at me and approached me for help, letting me herd him into the carrier. I’d checked with the local animal shelter weeks before and they told me to bring him to a veterinary hospital they work with. So on Monday I was able to hand him off to veterinary care – they won’t give me updates as he is considered a Good Samaritan drop-off, but I know I left him in good hands. I’m sad that I won’t see the little cutie again but hoping he has a speedy recovery and that being cared for at the vet hospital makes him even more open to people so that he can get adopted into a loving forever home (or a barn cat placement if he still isn’t sure about people.)
    7.5) Daisy making me laugh every day. Right now she’s snoring with her head on my leg as I work from the sofa.

    Oh! Bonus Kick is a 2-parter – this tweet of an excerpt of a Ray Bradbury interview is Part 1:
    Part 2 is the whole interview: https://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/6012/the-art-of-fiction-no-203-ray-bradbury

    Hope everyone is staying safe and well and finding joy where you can!

  4. Rachel: I hope Scruffy heals and gets adopted! Thank you so, so much for helping him get the help he needs!

  5. Jone, Trevor’s book is still on my TBR list. So neat that you’re doing Highlights online workshops. They do good stuff.

    Little Willow, break a leg!

    Rachel, I love that show too (What We Do in the Shadows). We were happy to see a new season on. Do you know the story behind the title of Fiona’s new album? Thanks for the links. I didn’t know International Dark Sky Week was a THING! And I loooove this kitty story. I commend you. You did a good, good thing for Scruffy.

    Have a good week, you all!

  6. Little Willow – thanks for sending good thoughts for Scruffy – I hope he heals up and gets adopted too! Our county shelter has a working cat adoption program, which means he has a very good chance no matter if he warms up to people more or not.

    Jules – I read that the title is a reference to a scene in the Gillian Anderson BBC series The Fall. (Have not watched that series.) And thanks, I’ve always had a soft spot for Scruffy, I’m really glad he let me help him.

    Have a good week!

  7. Yes, it is! It’s from one of Stella Gibson’s lines — and I loooove her character.

    And I looooove Scruffy already.

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