Based loosely on the life of the wildlife artist John James Audubon, this book tells the story of Celeste, a mouse who lives on a plantation in Louisianna in the early nineteenth century. Celeste’s adventures begin when the family cat prohibits Celeste from returning to her home under the floorboards in the dining room. She explores the spacious house cautiously and eventually builds a nest in a boot under a bed upstairs. The owner of the boot is Joseph Mason, Audubon’s assistant and protege. He finds Celeste and adopts her. Celeste is repulsed by Audubon’s practice of killing the animals he wishes to draw. She realizes, though, that she can save their lives if she encourages them to pose for his sketches. In the process, she makes many new friends.
The illustrations alone make this book a worthwhile read. Exquisite and detailed, they complement Cole’s story perfectly. Cole has included a brief biography of Audubon at the end of his book which helps the reader situate this story in history.
Jennifer Minicus lives in Ridgewood, NJ. Her love for the formation of young people inspired her interest in children’s literature.