Robin Redbreast. By David Lack. (Oxford University Press ; L o n d o n : Geoffrey Cumberlege. 15/-). In this volume, which appears to be a by-product of his earlier work and is a sort of ornithological jeu d'esprit, Dr. Lack deals with the " unnatural h i s t o r y " of the species whose habits and behaviour he has done so much to illumine. The highways and byways of English literature, from great poetry to doggerel and from nursery rhymes to political diatribes, contain numerous references to the Robin, which Dr. Lack has here collected together under a variety of chapter headings. In some of the longer extracts the bird plays a subordinate or incidental role, but it is nevertheless surprising that an anthology of over 200 pages can be compiled from references in literature to a single species, without being either exhaustive or exhausting. The book will appeal not only to those who are interested in birds, but also to students of English literature and social history and to those who h u n t curious information by the fireside at Christmas. For all, whether they belong to the last category or not, the most interesting chapters will probably be those on children's books and Christmas cards, in both of which the Robin plays a conspicuous part. The interest of these chapters is enhanced by the fact t h a t Dr. Lack discusses his material more freely than elsewhere ; on occasions one
Issue 12

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