'Round Robin'

Story Time

November 04, 1998|By Jack Kent

Editor's note: A baby robin eats so much he can't make it off the groundto fly south for the winter.

At first the little robin was like any other baby bird. Most of him was head and the rest of him was hungry.

He ate, and he ate, and he ate, and he ate, until he looked more like a ball than a bird. Everybody called him Round Robin.

The other birds fluttered about from tree to tree.

"Come fly with us, Round Robin," they said.

But Round Robin was too fat to fly. When he wanted to go anywhere, he hopped. Hippety, hoppety, boppety, BUMP. With sometimes more bumps than hops.

But mostly he just stayed where he was. All he wanted to do was eat.

When fall came, the robins began to fly south.

"Come along, Round Robin," they said. "Soon snow will cover the ground, and food will be hard to find."

So Round Robin headed south, too. Hippety, hoppety, boppety, BUMP.

It was slow going. All that hopping made him hungry. So every few minutes he stopped to eat. This slowed him down even more.

Round Robin had not gone very far when winter caught up with him. Hopping in the snow was hard work.

It was easier on the road, where automobiles had packed the snow as hard as ice.

Hippety, hoppity, slippety, SLIDE.

But it was dangerous.

"If you don't want to get run over," warned a field mouse, "stick to the byways."

So Round Robin did. The snow kept getting deeper and deeper. But Round Robin struggled on. "I'm starving!" he complained one day. "There's nothing at all to eat!"

"Oh, I wouldn't say that!" said a fox, who suddenly appeared from behind a tree. "You look very tasty to me!"

He licked his lips and leaped at Round Robin.

Everything happened so fast that Round Robin didn't have time to think. He was even more surprised than the fox when he found himself flying.

He wasn't round anymore.

"It's from all that exercise and nothing to eat," said Round Robin as he flew south.

He flew and he flew and he flew. And he didn't dare stop until he caught up with the rest of the robins. It was warm and sunny in the South. With no snow on the ground, food was easy to find. And Round Robin was oh, so hungry!

So he ate, and he ate, and he ate, and he ate, until he looked more like a ball than a bird.

It had taken Round Robin all winter to make the trip. Now it was spring and the robins were beginning to fly north again.

"Come along, Round Robin," they said. "It's time to go home."

So Round Robin sighed a deep sigh and started on the trip back north. Hippety, hoppety, boppety, BUMP.

Excerpted from the book ROUND ROBIN, by Jack Kent. Copyright 1982, by Jack Kent. Reprinted by permission of Aladdin Paperbacks, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc., Children's Publishing Division. All rights reserved.

Pub Date: 11/04/98

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