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The True Story of Stellina Hardcover – March 14, 2006

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 780L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (March 14, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375832734
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375832734
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 6.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,277,442 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 4-When the author's wife saw a baby finch stranded at a busy New York City intersection, she took her home and learned how to care for her. Likewise, Stellina, or little star, learned to trust Holly for food and companionship. The bird flew and sang, lived in an apartment, and traveled to the studio where Holly was a Spanish dancer. Stellina looked out the window but was content being near Holly and Matteo. Early repetition of Holly, my wife and Stellina's CHEEP sets the tone for a tender connection between pet and caregiver. The pacing of the words makes the book ideal for reading aloud, but the accompanying pencil drawings minimally highlighted with pale watercolors, while visually appealing, may not be large or bright enough for group viewing. Yet the balance among clear text, realistic illustrations, and white space evokes the same calm patience with which Holly nurtured the finch. This creative and informative book, a lively alternative to most nonfiction bird-care books, shows how simple acts of human caring give meaning to daily life.-Julie R. Ranelli, Episcopal Center for Children, Washington, DC
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* K-Gr. 3. Stellina, a New York City finch, falls out of her nest, and somehow Holly, Pericoli's wife, hears her cheep. Holly hopes the bird's mother will find her, but when that doesn't happen, she takes the bird home. "And now? What's going to happen now?" runs as a refrain through the tale, as Holly finds ways to feed Stellina, and takes her to the studio where she dances. Stellina (Little Star in Italian) soon learns to feed herself, to fly, and to watch Pericoli as he works (alert readers will see him working on his illustrated adult book Manhattan Unfurled). A precise linguistic lyricism is at play: "Stellina learned how to fly . . and Holly was so excited . . . [Holly] knows how to dance, but not how to fly." The art is sophisticated and spare, but utterly accessible, as Pericoli uses negative space and deep perspectives to show the bird's nest in a traffic light, Stellina perched on his drawing pencil, or Holly's dancing from a bird's-eye view. Small readers will be utterly won over, and bigger ones will be enchanted. GraceAnne DeCandido
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Matteo Pericoli is an architect, author and illustrator.
His books have been published by Random House, Knopf, Chronicle and, in 2009, by Simon & Schuster. His work also appeared in The New Yorker magazine, The New York Times, Farrar Straus & Giroux and Rizzoli among others.
From 1996 through 2000, he worked as project architect of the Jubilee Church in Tor Tre Teste (Rome, Italy) in Richard Meier's studio.

In Progress:
- Windows on the World (previously on NYTimes Op-Ed Page, The Observer, currently on the Paris Review Daily - Fall 2014: Penguin Press)

Completed work:
- London for Children (Macmillan Children's Books, July 2012)
- London Unfurled (Picador, London, October 2011)
- The City Out My Window: 63 Views on New York (Simon & Schuster, November 3, 2009)
- Manhattan Unfurled (Random House, 2001)
- Manhattan Within (Random House, 2003)
- See the City: the Journey of Manhattan Unfurled (Knopf for Young Readers, 2004)
- To the 5 Boroughs, Beastie Boys (Capitol Records, 2004)
- New York e altri disegni (Quodlibet, 2005)
- The True Story of Stellina ( Knopf for Young Readers, 2006)
- Skyline of the World, American Airlines terminal (JFK, 2007)
- World Unfurled (Chronicle Books, 2008)
- Tommaso and the Missing Line (Knopf for Young Readers, 2008)

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 9 customer reviews
Beautiful story and illustrations.
Kent G. Holt
In "Stellina" you can see Pericoli working on this book when the baby finch perches gracefully on the tip of his pencil.
E. R. Bird
We must have amassed a collection of a thousand books or so at this point, and I read to my kids every night before bed.
M Secrest

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on March 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Woman walks into a library. She comes up to me at the reference desk with this request: Do you have any picture books on finches? Not goldfinches or anything like that. Straight-out finchy finches. Searching the whole of the New York Library system I came up with two (count `em) two possible contenders. Needless to say, I promised her that I would ask other librarians around the country for other finch related titles before the week was over. I did so and among the answers I received came an e-mail from a woman suggesting Matteo Pericoli's newest picture book for children. Entitled, "The True Story of Stellina", the book promised to be a finch-centric true tale about a woman and the baby finch she adopted. The best part? It takes place here in Manhattan! Quick as a wink I recommended it to the woman, though I had to point out that it was a very very new book and might take some time before it was added to my library system. She was pleased and I was clued in to one of the cutest l'il ole books I ever did see. A real departure from his previous work, "Stellina" marks author/illustrator Matteo Pericoli's first foray into the world of picture book fiction. Touching, and true, it's remarkable for both its simplicity and its subtle illustration style. Sweet as all get out.

It happened one day in Manhattan on the corner of 3rd Avenue and 46th Street. Pericoli's future wife, Holly, was just standing on the corner when she heard a "CHEEP". And there, standing just beside a street sign, was a very tiny bird. "Could you also have heard `CHEEP' on the corner of 4th and Third, in the middle of the day, while cars were rushing by? ROOOOOAAAAARRRR!". Well Holly did. Holly sat and waited for the mama bird to come, but no one did.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By LonestarReader VINE VOICE on April 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
One of the honors of being a school librarian is the opportunity to be there for some of the small but very important moments of your students lives.

Reading The True Story of Stellina reminded me of an early morning visit from a student who came in before school and asked "Do we have any books on birds?" Well, what do you want to find out about birds? Is this for a report? Is there any special type of bird you are looking for?

She was clutching a shoebox and slowly lifted the lid and began to explain how she had found-this-baby-bird-on-the-sidewalk-on-the-way-to-school-and-she-had-run-run-all-the-way-back-home-to-find-a-shoebox-and-now-she-had-it-in-the-box and-see-the-sticks-and-leaves-she-had-added? She needed to find out how to take care of the bird so she had come to her library to get help.

We ended up enlisting the help of our school nurse who is a professional 4-H mom, and has raised just about every kind of animal imaginable. I cannot remember now what happened to the bird but my young friend would have been enchanted by this gentle story.

Matteo Pericoli's wife hears a "cheep" and finds a baby bird on the noisy streets of Manhattan. She takes the little bird home and manages to feed it and care for it. Stellina lives and thrives and repays the couple with companionship and love for eight years. The drawings are light and delicate like the bird whose story they are telling. I am looking forward to sharing it with kids. They will be charmed.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Anne B. Levy on May 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I was in the American Museum of Natural History last month, or rather, in their gift shop (honestly, is there any better place to shop for kiddie stuff?) when I noticed Pericoli's impressive rendering of the city skyline, Manhattan Unfurled, on prominent display.

I knew that on my shelf sat a more humble volume of his, about a single bird and not an entire cityscape. Stellina was a finch chick rescued by his wife, Holly, when she heard its tiny peeps at her feet above the roar of traffic.

While a press release and the book itself make much of the love that sprung between rescuer and foundling, I was struck more by Pericoli's obvious awe of his wife. He dotes on the way she fed the bird by trickling juice down her pinky, or played piano to inspire it to sing, or schlepped it in a plastic box whereever she went until it was old enough to be left alone in her tiny apartment.

He also refers to her as "Holly, my wife" on every single reference, in case you miss it. An end note explains she was only his future wife when Stellina peeped into their lives, and further confuses matters by saying a security guard first rescued the bird. There is no guard in Pericoli's narrative.

There is, however, what appears to be a lovely, stylized rendering of Holly, with an elongated nose and slender frame, dabbled with just enough watercolor to suggest her clothes or Stellina's plumage. Pericoli's use of pigment is like his spare prose, giving us only what's essential:

"It was evening when Holly, my wife,

decided to take Stellina home with her.

"They sat together for a while,

looking at each other,

and both must have wondered:

'And now? What's going to happen now?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Catherine Grosse on January 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful story about a couple who find an abandoned baby bird in a busy intersection and take it home to raise it. It is very touching because of their love that grew for little baby Stellina. She became a member of their family. My grandchildren love this kind and tender story and want me to read it to them again and again. The artwork is also delightful. I recommend this book for children and adults alike. My grandchildren are 2 to 9 and they all love it.
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