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We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Book Review

The Tale of Jolly Robin by Arthur Scott Bailey has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. This story is also in a compilation called Tuck-Me-In Tales.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Jolly Robin is so named because he’s a pleasant bird who likes to laugh. Once he has learned to fly and leaves the family nest, he begins looking for a job. His friend Jimmy Rabbit helps him realize his best attribute is his laughter. Jimmy suggests Jolly hire himself out to sullen creatures, such as Old Mr. Crow, to do their laughing for them. Jolly Robin and Mr. Crow give this partnership a try, but Jolly can never seem to laugh at the moments Mr. Crow thinks he should.

When it’s time to fly south for the winter, Jasper Jay convinces Jolly Robin to try a new route. Jolly leaves his wife, children and other flock members to follow Jasper Jay. He soon discovers Jasper’s route is poorly planned, and he quickly flies to catch up with his family.

One spring, Jolly Robin arrives in Pleasant Valley to find a pale, giant man standing outside. He grows concerned when Farmer Green’s son begins throwing snowballs at the man. The man begins to break apart, even losing his head. Jolly shares this disturbing story with his friend Jimmy Rabbit, who joins him to investigate. Jimmy assures him this is a snowman, which will be gone soon. Relieved, Jolly decides he can build his nest without fear.

Jolly Robin has a country cousin, known as the Hermit, who wears a colorful waistcoat that Jolly despises. Jolly decides it’s his duty to tell his cousin he should stop wearing it. On Jolly’s visit to his cousin’s area, it is clear the two agree on very little. Jolly shares his opinions on the waistcoat and other matters, believing he is helping his cousin. But his cousin grows irritated and eventually moves his family away without telling Jolly where they’re going.

When Jolly tells Jasper Jay about a beautiful golden bird that has perched on the barn, Jasper becomes jealous. He tells everyone he will fight the bird. When he finally sees it, he flies at it several times. It never moves, and he only succeeds in injuring himself. Humiliated, he finally gives up. Readers learn this “bird” was the metal rooster on the barn’s new weathervane.

Jolly tells Mr. Crow about a four-armed man he’s seen around the barn. Mr. Crow mocks him after he realizes Jolly has seen the farmhand wearing a neck-yoke to carry the milk buckets.

Jolly tires of hearing Willie Whip-poor-will’s mournful song and decides to tell the bird what he thinks of it. Since he is a night sleeper and Willie sleeps in the day, they can’t stay awake to talk at the same time. At one point, Jolly falls asleep trying to talk to Willie. When he wakes the next day and flies home, his wife is extremely cross and scolds him for keeping company with trash like Willie.

Christian Beliefs


Other Belief Systems


Authority Roles

Jolly Robin’s parents coax him out of the nest, knowing it’s the only way he will learn to fly. Wiser animals such as Mr. Crow and Jimmy Rabbit explain the mysteries of farm life to Jolly. Jolly’s wife sometimes grows angry and frustrated with him when he doesn’t behave according to her expectations.





Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

5 to 11


Arthur Scott Bailey






Record Label



Originally published by Grossett and Dunlap Publishers; it appears as a stand-alone book and in a compilation with other animal stories, called Tuck-Me-In Tales.


On Video

Year Published





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