Stellina was a bird: “CHEEP.”
A very little bird: “Cheep! cheep!”
So begins critically acclaimed author Matteo Pericoli’s all-true story of how he and his wife, Holly, came to rescue and raise a little finch, Stellina, in the middle of New York City. When no zoo would take the abandoned bird, fallen from her nest onto a busy street, Holly took her home and gave her the best life she could. And there, in a Manhattan apartment, Stellina leaned how to eat, fly, and sing.
Pericoli's (See the City: The Journey of Manhattan Unfurled) book about raising a baby bird in a Manhattan apartment is a hymn to love, patience and hard-boiled eggs as a starter food. Holly, Pericoli's wife, rescued the nestling Stellina from a busy New York intersection. She kept the tiny finch with her always, peeling grapes for her pet, carrying her to the dance studio in a cardboard box, and listening to Stellina's signature cry: "Cheep." In a gently lilting rhythm with several subtle refrains (including, "And now? What's going to happen now?" at crucial junctures), Pericoli remembers the day Stellina learned to eat by herself, the day she learned to fly ("Holly was so excited,/ because Holly, my wife,/ doesn't know how to fly./ She knows how to dance,/ but not how to fly"), and the day Stellina landed on his own pencil. His pared-down drawings add to the feeling of delicacy as the artist picks and chooses among the details, leaving expanses of clean white space in between. He represents Stellina as a flat shape, but draws himself and his wife in three dimensions, using watercolor wash to show the wrinkles in their hands and the concern in their eyes. The contrast between the intimacy of the little family and the bustle of city life is one of the book's delights, the gentle, honest narrative another. Poignant and thoughtful, his memoir will not fail to endear Stellina to readers of all ages. Ages 5-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.