I have the pleasure of bragging about another dear friend’s book… Henry Cole’s first novel “A Nest for Celeste: A Story About Art, Inspiration, and the Meaning of Home.” You may know Henry by the numerous picture books he’s illustrated, including our book “Z is for Zookeeper.” I had the chance to read “A Nest for Celeste” in it’s early stages and knew that it was a winner, but I had no idea how beautiful the final novel would be. I’m proud of you Henry!
Amazon Best Books of the Month, March 2010: Celeste is not your average mouse. She lives alone, quietly weaving baskets with creative flair under the floor boards of the Oakley Plantation. However, Celeste’s world turns upside down with the arrival of the great naturalist John James Audubon and his assistant Joseph, who have come to study and paint the birds of the Louisiana bayou. Their arrival coincides with Celeste’s sudden displacement from her home below to a guest room upstairs. There she watches young Joseph struggle to create the backgrounds for Audubon’s bird paintings. As the two homesick souls strike up a friendship, the mouse secretly puts her artistic skills to good use; she simultaneously helps Joseph improve his compositions while aiding the wounded birds that Audubon captures for his studies. Nearly every page of author-illustrator Henry Cole’s fine novel combines text and remarkable drawn images to tell the story of a mouse in need of a home of her own from the tiny creature’s unique vantage point. Henry Cole’s A Nest for Celeste is a perfect choice for middle readers who enjoy animal adventure tales with a twist. –Lauren Nemroff