Friday, April 02, 2010

Book Nook Corner - Children's Books-A Nest For Celeste by Henry Cole

Recently I was mailed a package of books from Harper Collins Children Books. It was like Christmas when I opened it up.

Since I started doing book reviews I was praying for the day when I would receive some children's books. Since I have two kids and all...

Well, one of the first I reviewed turned out to be a really great book. One that I will add to my children's growing collection for when they are a little older and also one that I will mention to all the kids and moms in my little end of the world.

A Nest for Celeste, A Story About Art, Inspiration, and the Meaning of Home by Henry Cole was a really great read. I loved so many things about it.

Harper Collins Description:
A beautifully illustrated novel about a mouse, her friendship with Audubon's apprentice, and her search for home.

Beneath the crackled and faded painting of a horse, underneath the worn and dusty floorboards of the dining room, lives Celeste, a mouse who spends her days weaving baskets, until one day she is thrust into the world above. Here Celeste encounters danger—and love—unlike any she's ever imagined. She dodges a hungry cat and witnesses the brutality of hunting for the first time. She makes friends with a singing thrush named Cornelius, a talkative osprey named Lafayette, and Joseph, Audubon's young apprentice. All the while, Celeste is looking for a new home. Is her home in the toe of a worn boot? Nestled in Joseph's pocket? Or in the dollhouse in the attic, complete with mouse-size furniture perfect for Celeste? In the end, Celeste discovers that home is really the place deep inside her heart, where friendships live.

There couldn't be a better description than, "Beautifully illustrated". The illustrations are one of the reasons I will be mentioning this book over and over again.

 Beside the beautiful sketches is a story about friendship, trust, loyalty and adventure. Now if that isn't enough to make a great children's book there is the "real story" weaved beautifully into this story about a mouse, a boy and a bird. John James Audubon (1785-1851) was a wildlife artist who captured and posed birds in order to document, sketched, and paint them.  Now, we have The National Audubon Society whose mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on bird and other wildlife. There is also a magazine that bares his name.

What Henry Cole does with A Nest for Celeste is take history and embellish it with a lovely tale about a basket weaving mouse, who is looking for a home of her own all alone in this great big world. She is taken under the "pocket" of Joseph, (Audobon's young assistant). She makes friends, helps others and eventually shows Joseph and Audubon that you do not have to injure, or kill a bird to capture its beauty on canvas.

The book has 342 pages but the pictures (some of them full page, makes it go quick). Great chapter book for readers between 6-12, the pictures make it thrilling for the younger kids if you are reading to them and the older kids will love the idea of a big "kid" book. There are pictures, pictures and text and full "grown up" pages of story throughout the book. If I were a kid this would be the ideal read. Heck, it was the ideal read for me as an adult.

Thanks to Harper Collins Children for the opportunity to review this amazingly, beautiful (written word and visually stunning) book. I will be looking for more books by Henry on my next book store trip.


  1. Anonymous7:59 PM

    WOW the pictures are beautiful. It does sound like a great book to read. Thanks for the post.

  2. I'm with you--I think I'd like to read that book, but I'm pretty sure my daughter wouldn't sit through 300-plus pages just yet.


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