Monday, January 22, 2007
The True Story of Stellina
Pericoli, Matteo. 2006. THE TRUE STORY OF STELLINA. New York: Knopf. ISBN 0375832734 [Suggested Grade Levels 2-4]
This true story about a baby finch discovered beneath a light on a busy New York street corner depicts the classic tale of a loyal pet and its owner. One day amongst the “ROOOOOOAAAAAARRRR!” of traffic, Pericoli’s wife, Holly, heard a “CHEEP.” After waiting hours for this grounded fledgling to be rescued by its mother, Holly took the bird home where they both sat looking at each other, and wondering, “And now?” Holly named the bird Stellina, and thus began an eight-year long friendship between woman and bird.
Pericoli recounts this unusual event with softness and wonderment. His muted watercolors of a diminutive Stellina in atypical surroundings are captivating against the white pages. The stretching of certain words to accentuate sound or depth or texture reflect the amazement and privilege he and his wife felt at having such a guest in their home for such a long time. Although the story ends with Stellina’s death, Pericoli implies that she is still shining down on his household, as her Italian name translates to “little star.”
What does it take to care for a wild bird? To better appreciate the rescue and long life of Stellina, readers can research about the care of birds as pets. Introduce other stories of unusual or note-worthy pets.
Books about caring for birds:
Blackaby, Susan. BIRD FOR YOU: CARING FOR YOUR BIRD. ISBN 1404801170
Bozzon, Linda. MY FIRST BIRD. ISBN 076602749X
True stories about loyal pets:
Collard, Sneed B. SHEP: OUR MOST LOYAL DOG. ISBN 158536259X
Hodgkins, Fran. THE CAT OF STRAWBERRY HILL. ISBN 0892726849
Turner, Pamela S. HACHIKO: THE TRUE STORY OF A LOYAL DOG. ISBN 0618140948
By Rebecca McKee