Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Nest for Celeste, by Henry Cole

A Nest for Celeste, by Henry Cole (2010, HarperCollins) is about a mouse looking for a home.

Celeste is a mouse; to be precise, a basket-maker mouse. She lives in a hole in the side of the dinning room wall. Her only company is the big black cat (who wants to eat her!) and two rat bullies--not much company there! Then one day when she is out foraging, she is chased up the stairs by the cat, into a room, and under the bed....there she finds a boot in which to make a home, and she makes it comfortable with a sock and some leaves.

That morning a man named Joseph finds her there, and makes her his pet. As Celeste finds out, Joseph is a very good friend. Joseph paints birds, but instead of doing it the way his master does (he takes dead birds and pins them up), Joseph likes to paint from real life.

In her adventures with Joseph, Celeste meets a bird called Cornelius, an osprey named Lafayette, and she goes through floods, death-defying chases, and another nasty encounter with the rats. Her basket making skills come in useful....

And in the end, Celeste has a home (a lovely one!). And that is what she wanted.

This is one of my all time favorite books. It is really moving. I cared a lot about Celeste. The illustations were great too. If you have ever read The Invention of Hugo Cabret, it is sort of like that, because it is both pictures taking up whole pages, and also a lot of writing.

Guess who Joesph's teacher is! (he's the most famous bird painter in America....he has a society named after him...and his name starts with "a").