Book Review: A Nest for Celeste


A Nest for Celeste

What a beautiful little book. A Nest for Celeste: A Story about Art, Inspiration and the Meaning of Home by Henry Cole reminds me in some ways of The Rats of NIHM for its main mousy main character whose survival instincts and sheer luck and pluck shine through and of The Invention of Hugo Cabret for the lovely illustrations by Cole that become part of the story (although not quite in the same fashion as Brian Selznick, whose pictures are the story itself, not just a companion piece).

Most of all, A Nest for Celeste stands tall as its own story about a little mouse who survives, just barely, through the help of friends. The outside narrative arc of naturalist James John Audubon, and his work to document birds of America in illustrations, provides the reader with a little window into the world of the animals that Audubon and his assistant, Joseph, find and capture in order to draw them.

Celeste, a timid little thing, is drawn so perfectly by Cole, whose own illustration work peppers a lot of other books, that you can’t help but lose your heart to her, and wish her well on her journey of survival. Her encounters with other animals, including a pair of mean rats who get tehir due and some daring birds, provides just enough action and momentum that the story flows nicely forward. Her friendship with the boy, Joseph, is quite touching, as he finally finds a small friend he can confide in and Celeste finds a human protector she can rely upon and care for.

This is a wonderful little book that is certainly worth a read. Slip it into the hands of one of your more thoughtful readers. They won’t be disappointed.

Peace (in the quest for home),



  1. It’s a beautiful book, and includes some added interest because of the Audubon story, too. It’s been a good read aloud for one of the classes at school who are studying birds this year. And, thanks for all the digital posting. I will keep them all to read & re-read. You have all provided such thoughtful words to consider in this changing world at our schools.

  2. Kevin
    I have this book sitting on my table to read next, so when I saw your post in my Google reader I had to swing by.
    At present I am reading Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt who also has the Audubon work integrated into the story in a way I love. I have that book borrowed as an e library book, but think I will buy it as want to read it to my class. I am hoping 10 -12 year olds might get it, if I read it aloud to them. Have you read Okay for Now, if so do you think they would?

  3. Kevin
    I have decided to read it to my class, I think it will provide us with much discussion, and I hope they love Doug, the main character, as much as I do. I am pleased I met Audubon’s work first through Okay for Now, rather than A Nest for Celeste. I didn’t enjoy the shooting of the birds! Amazing as a New Zealander I have never heard of Audubon and then I meet up in two consecutive books that I read.

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