105 Ways to Give a Book

Poetry Friday: Stellina

The True Story of StellinaQuite a while ago, lots of bloggers were raving about The True Story of Stellina, by Matteo Pericoli, but it didn’t come into my library collection under my watchful eyes, and I missed it. Then something made me think of it again and I ordered it from a different branch, and oh, I’m so glad.

What a sweet book. But not sticky sweet. I’ve read it at home. I’ve read it to second graders. I’ve read it to fifth graders. If I had a preschooler class, I’d read it to them.

The book is about a small bird who was found in NYC, brought home by the author’s wife, and who lived with them for many years and eventually died. That’s it.

But it’s the poetry of the story and the soft illustrations that make the book so special. When I read it to the fifth graders, I asked them what stood out in my reading that made the story a poem. (They picked up on the author’s repetition of “Holly, my wife.”) I also read a page both the way it was written with the right pauses, and the way it would be read without the pauses. But that was the extent of my poetry lesson, I mostly let the book speak for itself. As I will, briefly, here:
Holly, my wife,
once saw a very little bird
on the corner of
46th and Third.
In Manhattan.
Cars were rushing by,
Cars are loud in the city.

But “CHEEP,” Holly heard.
Holly, my wife, has very good ears.
Could you also have heard
on the corner of
46th and Third,
in the middle of the day,
while cars were rushing by?
That’s not easy to hear.
This is such a quiet book, and a perfect jumping-off place for talking about birds, poetry, or even New York City. Since I don’t have a NYC kid, I must request that someone buy it for your child (Brooklyn counts!) and share it. Over and over again.


cloudscome said...

What a sweet story! I have rescued some birds and some baby ducks, but it didn't turn out to be poetic. At least, I didn't find a way to write it that way. I need to read this book!

Daniel said...

This sounds wonderful...it seems to echo my own favorite from childhood, "Make Way for Ducklings..." Proof positive, through literature, that modern city bustle need not obliterate nature and love.