20 April 2010

Review: A Nest for Celeste by Henry Cole

Celeste is a mouse who used live under the sideboard in the dinning room of a plantation house outside of New Orleans. When she is bullied one night by the two resident rats, Celeste ventures too far into the house and must race upstairs to avoid the cat.

Fortunately, she is discovered by Joseph, a young teenager who is apprenticed to John Audubon, the famous artist. Both Celeste and the boy are lonely, and they strike up a sort of friendship. Joseph feeds the mouse and lets her sleep in his shirt pocket.

Joesph takes Celeste with him when he goes on exploring trips into the surrounding countryside and lets her sit on the desk when he draws. While Celeste is with the teenager, she has the chance to meet and make friends with several different kinds of birds, including ospreys, swallows, and wrens.

Eventually, she finds the perfect house for herself up in the attic, safe from the cat. She is worried about being lonely again, but thanks to a broken window, her bird friends can come visiting.

Henry Cole's A Nest for Celeste is fiction, but according to the author's afterword, it is true that Audubon and his assistant lived on a Louisiana plantation for several months in 1821. Some of the methods Audobon used to create his famous paintings were less than kind to the birds he immortalized.

A Nest for Celeste provides parents and middle-grade readers with a basis for discussing issues involving friendship, kindness to animals, and the meaning of home. Although the novel is illustrated on almost every page, this is not a picture book or a book for only the very young.

The black and white pencil (or are they charcoal?) drawings are lovely and are in the style shown on the cover. I was unable to find any drawings to share, and the book wouldn't sit flat on my scanner, but the book trailer includes some of the artwork.

A Nest for Celeste was a spring 2010 Indie Next pick for kids. Henry Cole has a website where you can view a different book trailer and see a variety of his illustrations for other children's books. The HarperCollins website allows you to take a peek inside the novel.

A Nest for Celeste at Powell's
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Published by HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books, 2010
ISBN-13: 9780061704109

Challenges: Young Adult, New Author, 100+
YTD: 35
Source: Review (see review policy)
Rating: B


Jenn's Bookshelves 4/20/10, 9:30 AM  

We have this one to review as well. I look forward to reading it to/with my boys!

Julie P. 4/20/10, 9:53 AM  

I saw this one reviewed on another site and I think it looks gorgeous!

bermudaonion 4/20/10, 11:19 AM  

I thought this book was great! I missed the trailer somehow and just love it.

Eva 4/20/10, 12:45 PM  

Awww: this sounds marvelous. :) Too bad my niece is only 4! I'll have to remember it when she's older.

Sandy Nawrot 4/20/10, 1:22 PM  

I could get lost in a book like this. I think I enjoy them as much or more than my kids!

Tribute Books 4/20/10, 2:13 PM  

Very charming book, thanks!

Margot 4/20/10, 2:57 PM  

I want to read this book. The trailer was so charming.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 4/20/10, 3:34 PM  

I've seen a few reviews of this book (all very positive). It does sound like a good starting point for various discussions.

I chuckled at your question on the illustrations (are they perhaps charcoal?). I wish books included as much information about the illustrator and his/her work.

Digital Flower Pictures 4/20/10, 7:21 PM  

Sounds like an interesting read.

Ana S. 4/21/10, 3:14 PM  

Aw, this sounds so lovely!

Robin M 4/21/10, 4:49 PM  

Sounds like a cute book and the trailer is very warm. Makes me want to read it. Thanks.

Belle 4/21/10, 9:49 PM  

I've started reading chapter book length books to my son, but he's still at an age where a lot of illustrations make a difference to him. This one sounds like a good read for him.

Vic | UPrinting Coupons 4/22/10, 2:00 AM  

The mouse and Human friendship reminds me of Ratatouille :-) I love the idea that the author use real people as supporting characters in the story.

Natasha @ Maw Books 4/22/10, 10:12 PM  

I love that book cover! Certainly caught my attention!

Becca 4/23/10, 3:16 AM  

This looks like a cute book and sounds like it gives some good lessons too.

Alice 4/25/10, 6:36 AM  

I've read another review somewhere about this book. What a great read!

margie palatini 8/16/10, 11:27 AM  

It's a wonderful book. I know young readers will love it.
Margie Palatini

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