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A Nest For Celeste: A Story About Art, Inspiration, and the Meaning of Home [Hardcover]

Henry Cole

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Book Description

Feb. 12 2010

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.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Katherine Tegen; 1 edition (Feb. 12 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061704105
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061704109
  • Product Dimensions: 18.6 x 15 x 3.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #310,187 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Henry Cole is the celebrated illustrator of many books for children, including the Bad Boys series by Margie Palatini, and is also the author and illustrator of the novel A Nest for Celeste.


Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  41 reviews
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece that should win the Newbery Medal March 24 2010
By Susan Lockrey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As someone who has loved the great anthropomorphizing stories - Kenneth Grahame, E.B.White, George Selden, Robert O'Brien, Tor Seidler etc - I was naturally drawn to this book when told about it. Having a young daughter named Celeste made it even more attractive. And finally, to discover that it was extensively illustrated with many double-page spreads used as backdrops to the text whetted my appetite even more. Couldn't resist, so I bought it. And what a good thing I did. This is a modern classic. It is utterly wonderful. The astonishing suite of drawings matches anything done by Garth Williams, Ernest Shepherd and Fred Marcellino, and the story manages deftly to avoid the all-too-easy sentimental drivel that so many 'animal stories' disintegrate into. Its natural history detailing is a delight, the recreation of Audubon's biography is effortlessly achieved and the sub-group of other animals is completely convincing. For a book of this nature, with the extraordinary amount of work involved in producing 350 pages most of which are illustrated could have been a case of 'all very impressive but sadly rather dull'. But happily in Henry Cole's case, the inspiration completely dominates the perspiration. It is overwhelmingly an enchantment above all else, and so much better for it. As for the criticism by another critic of its poor quality paper, they need to see a psychiatrist. The paper in fact is of a lovely light quality and attractively deckle-edged. Two and a half year old children will rip any paper, even one reinforced with steel. My Celeste, at five, only now respects the physical properties of a book, and as a bibliophile, let me tell you, I've tried! This book should be a candidate for the Newbery Medal. It's a marvel. A true marvel.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Visually and Written Book April 1 2010
By M. G. Gagliano - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
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.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars GreenBeanTeenQueen Reviews April 1 2010
By GreenBeanTeenQueen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
About the Book: Celeste is a mouse who lives in a small room inside a house who spends her time making baskets. She is often bullied by two large rats who take her food and one day Celeste is sent further into the house than she's gone before. She befriends a young boy named Joseph, who is staying at the house with Mr. Audubon where they are drawing pictures of birds. Celeste meets many new friends along the way and discovers the meaning of home.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: A Nest for Celeste is somewhat reminiscent of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, although Celeste is a likeable character from the start. But I felt the book lacked some of the magic and charm of Edward Tulane.

Each chapter has a little bit of it's own story, which I felt made the book a little disjointed and at times I didn't feel like everything was connected. Mr. Audubon's story is based on the real life artist who drew birds. He hunted and killed the birds and then pinned them in the position he wanted to paint them, and the author doesn't shy away from this in the book. If you have sensitive tweens, there may be some parts that are a little too much for them (there are vivid hunting scenes as well as drawings of the birds pinned to paper).

The drawings are beautiful and detailed and that's really where the book excels. I do think A Nest for Celeste would make a wonderful read aloud for parents and tweens. The book could also lend itself to great discussions on animals, science and what makes a home.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SO MUCH MORE THAN I EXPECTED April 12 2010
By M. ALM - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book sounded charming when I read the reviews and the excerpts but it was a hit with my granddaughter beyond my expectations. She is seven years old and read it with her mom. They both called me to say how very much they loved it. My granddaughter told her mom, when they came to the last page "I don't want it to be over !!" - I highly recommend this book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A literary and visual delight! April 13 2010
By Bibliobabe - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Those of you who were fans of Robert Lawson growing up will love Cole's novel debute. Like Lawson's Mr. Revere and I and Ben and Me, Cole blends history and fantasy into a story about John James Audubon's time at the Oakley Plantation near New Orleans. The story is about Celeste, a small mouse, who is befriended by the apprentice of Audubon. Joseph Mason is a soft-hearted gentle human who sees Celeste as his muse. He recognizes Celeste as a soul who is also missing "home." The cruel methods Audubon sometime used to create the images of the birds in his famous paintings are countered by Celeste who is able to "show" Mason better ways to capture the beauty of nature. The unlikely friendship between man and mouse benefits both. The combination of deft storytelling and beautiful pencils sketches make this a must-read first novel.
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