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A Nest for Celeste
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A Nest for Celeste

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  1,256 ratings  ·  323 reviews
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 lov...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published February 23rd 2010 by Katherine Tegen Books (first published 2010)
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Margo Tanenbaum
I have wondered for a long time about the relationship between mice and children's books. Few people like the little critters in real life, unless as fodder for science experiments, yet mice are the heroes of more children's books than you can shake a piece of cheese at. I wouldn't be surprised if someone has written a graduate thesis on this topic.

In A Nest for Celeste, Celeste joins a pantheon of unforgettable mice heroes and heroines in both children's novels and picture books. Anyone who lo...more
It took me a while to figure out what bothered me about "Celeste," and I think it has to do with anthropomorphism. On one end of the anthropomorphism scale is the toad-in-a-waistcoat. In toad-in-a-waistcoat the animal is simply a stand-in for a human character; references to real animal behavior, such as lily pad homes or cricket lunches, are thrown in for cuteness's sake. The other end of the anthropomorphic scale is the equivalent of someone at the zoo pounding on a snake's display case. It's...more
Charlyn  Trussell
In 1939, Robert Lawson set a small mouse in Benjamin Franklin's hat to narrate a historical tale. Henry Cole now sets a small mouse named Celeste in the hat of young Joseph Mason, the apprentice of John James Audubon's assistant, while the two stay on a Louisiana plantation to paint the birds and foliage. The story, however, isn't Audubon's story or even the story of Joseph, still a young teenager away from home for the first time. This is the story of Celeste, a talented young basket-weaving mo...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This is a heartwarming tale of a little mouse named Celeste who longs for a place she can call home and friends to ease her loneliness. On her adventures, Celeste encounters many obstacles (bullying mice, getting swept away by the wind, escaping the house cat's clutches), but her endurance and resourcefulness saves her on many occasions and leads her to befriend a diverse group of friends; human and neighborhood creatures. In the end, Celeste matures from being a timid to a brave mouse who finds...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Destinee Sutton
In the style of Hugo Cabret, this book features large pencil drawings that complement the text. The drawings are really wonderful in their detail and, I think, the most enjoyable part of the book. I also liked the little mouse Celeste herself. Though she never really came alive on the page, what we saw of her was lovable, and her journey to find a home and a friend is compelling.

Ok, now I'm done being nice. I have to say, right off the bat I was not a fan of the second half of the title. It's a...more
Henry Cole's, A Nest for Celeste, is one of those rare finds among childrens books that has the potential to reach readers of all levels and ages. This is a wonderful story about the power of friendship, the sense of purpose and the need to have and find a place called 'home.' Cole weaves art, history, and science into a story that is hard to put down and a pleasure to read. His illustrations are reminiscent of Garth Williams and David Selznick and go beyond his rich text. This is a book that is...more
This is my first Henry Cole book and was it ever a delight. It's based on the four month visit of John James Audubon and his 13 year old assistant Joseph's visit at Oakley Plantation near New Orleans. The story revolves around the sweetest little mouse, Celeste (I just love her name) and her getting to know Joseph as well as her encounters with the home's cat. She meets some enchanting birds with great personalities and learns the meaning of friendship. Henry Cole's website is such fun, henrycol...more
It's an interesting story and the illustrations are just beautiful. I know that Audobon killing the birds for his art was accepted at the time, and the book is historically accurate, but I think that this is information that middle schoolers can handle better than elementary students. Yet the illustrations and format of the book are clearly aimed at elementary students. I also think the cover will attract girls, not boys, but I think boys will enjoy the adventure and hunting content more than gi...more
As usual, I don't know if this should be 3 or 4 stars... maybe 3 1/2 would split the difference. Anyway, the story is nice, if a bit forgettable, but the illustrations are wonderful and more than make up for any lack in the writing! It is impossible to not fall in love with Celeste. She is just so cute, and most of the other animals in the drawings are just as endearing.
Oct 19, 2014 Nate rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: favorites
This book is so sweet so heartwarming so lovable The only 3 characters you hate are perfect. 2 are lazy rats that make Celeste get them food but one dies very early and the other dies in the end. Its not her fighting someone but looking for friends and a home and she finds them in many unexpected forms
As Celeste weaves her grass baskets, so Cole masterfully weaves his tale. Layer upon layer is unearthed as we explore Celeste's world with her, as we join her in her search for safety and security - no easy feat for a mouse, or anyone else!

As we adventure with Celeste, we meet John James Audubon and his assistant Joseph. Audubon is known for his detailed sketches and paintings of birds in their natural habitats. Cole adds to our understanding of this artist and naturalist through the eyes of Ce...more
This book is written and illustrated in the fashion of Brian Selznick's Caldecott winning The Invention of Hugo Cabret . And like Selznick story, A Nest For Celeste is based around actual events.

This book is told from Celeste's, a field mouse, perspective as she is forced to find a new nest when the family cat begins to stalk her old one. Meanwhile the Pirrie family has welcomed new vistors, Audubon (yes, the famous bird painter) and his young assistant Joseph.

The parts of this book that ar...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I thought is was sad in the end. I think it was cute how Celeste made lots of new friends. I thought it was sad what happened to her family. I liked the part when she found Joseph. I don't think it was nice what Mr. Audubon did with the birds at all.

-- review by Quinn, 6.75 years old

My review:
The real world is hard and maybe that is why I prefer fantasy. I had a hard time with this made me think of Charlotte's Web. Let me start by saying that our heroine lives in the end. But through...more
May 14, 2010 Carmine rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 2-4th graders
Recommended to Carmine by: browsing the new shelf
A heavily illustrated chapter book (think Hugo Cabret) with a basketweaving mouse protagonist who seems to exists to teach us about James Audubon. Based on an actual period of time James Audubon and his assistant Joseph Mason stayed on a plantation near New Orleans in 1821. Celeste the mouse has some rather human, modern sensibilities like it is wrong to shoot birds just to paint them or to massacre scores of carrier pigeons as they pass over.

The illustrations are beautiful. I loved the little b...more
An industrious mouse finds a friend when she is discovered by Joseph, John James Audubon's assistant, visiting the Louisiana plantation where she lives. She keeps him company, watches him work, joins his field expeditions, and ventures out on her own, finding other friends and a more permanent home.
This is a charmer, ably told and irresistibly illustrated with pencil drawings, many filling the pages and serving as background to the text as well as accompaniment. It will remind experienced reade...more
This book was a winner of the Maryland Black-eyed Susan Book award. It's a story about a mouse named Celeste who in her home under floor boards of a Louisiana plantation spends her time weaving baskets. In the story Celeste is struggling to find a home after having came across many difficult situations. She deals with mice bullying her, the cat which ultimately leaves her without a home. After having gone through this, Celeste finally meets new friends which include Joseph other animals that hel...more
I loved this book .. partly because it was THE chapter book that has inspired my daughter to explore the delightful world of books (beyond the simple easy readers and bridging books).

A Nest for Celeste was a great summer read ... providing us with inspiration for our own study of birds and of Audubon himself. The concepts of bullying and the methods used by Audubon provided much for discussion. Henry Cole's delightful illustrations encouraged us to try our hand at charcoal.
A Nest for Celeste  A Story About Art, Inspiration, and the Meaning of Home by Henry Cole
This little gem is a beautiful story embracing the idea that it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Full of rich, engaging characters and an intriguing storyline that keeps even little ears listening. It is a credit to this book that every time we read, we never stopped at our decided stopping point. My audience always clamored for "just one more chapter" which often turned in to two or three. 5 stars all the way!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book is so sweet and enduring that it hurts. If I ever have children, I will most definitely read this book to them and if I don't have children, then I will read it to my cats. It is perfect for reading aloud. The language flows in a storytime fashion and each chapter is short and wrapped up nicely. The illustrations are precious and deserve more than just a page turn. You have to stop and take them in.

Henry Cole, who also wrote and illustrated "On Meadowview Street," (one of my favorite...more
Kay Farmer
J Cole, H
Kay's rating: 4 stars
A sweet story about a mouse, Celeste, who is befriended by a teenager named Joseph. Joseph is an assistant to the artist, John James Audubon. The story takes place on a plantation in New Orleans. Through Celeste's adventures and encounters, she learns the true meaning of home and friendship.
Melissa Kasso
Another book up for the CYRM. Of the three nominees, this is the book I chose to read first and I was disappointed. The book should include a section at the end that gives factual information about the birds mentioned in the story. Overall, this was a sweet story about compassion and friendship, but it needed a bit more zip.
This was a beautiful book. Beautifully written and illustrated. Celeste, the mouse, is simply looking for a home. Along the way she makes friends with animals and a kind-hearted person named Joseph. I think the background information about Audubon will only add to the fabulous story.
I did not enjoy this book. It started out alright. Celeste is a sweet, smart little mouse dealing with some housing issues. I chose it from the library because it looked like a sweet chapter book that I could read out loud to my kids (aged 3-10). I made it through a couple of the hunting scenes, editing out more and more of the gruesomeness, before deciding we should read something more appropriate. I feel that it is really propagandist against hunting. The author obviously has a large bias agai...more
3 1/2 stars. The story is sweet and I think I'd have loved it when I was 10 or so. My favorite part, though, is the art.
A sweet story about a nice little mouse and her search for a home, and a friend. In the end she finds both - a safe, pleasant home and several good friends. The book is generously illustrated with pencil drawings throughout, showing Celeste's many adventures, including outwitting (or outrunning) a house cat on more than one occasion, flying over the Louisiana landscape with an osprey, and tidying up an abandoned doll house to make a cozy home for herself. There is some violence towards animals,...more
Donna LaValley
Maybe 3.5 stars. The cover illustration and the description foretold, to me, a cozier story. Instead Celeste, a small mouse, endures grim circumstances such as abusive rats, a killer cat, and a storm that is like a flood to her. She witnesses the death of many birds, as hunting was a common practice in the 1880s when she lived on a Louisiana plantation.

The book is nicely illustrated by excellent pencil drawings on almost every page, and indeed Art plays a major role in the story. Illustrator Ja...more
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Per back cover: He is a dandy dresser, but he does need to don his dentures when dining out. Illustrated many books for children. He lives in Virginia.
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“At that moment there were two feelings inside Celeste's tiny, rapidly beating heart that made her feel as full, and as empty, as a gourd. The sheer beauty of this moment was perfect and sublime. But she was alone.” 1 likes
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