Star: The Bird Who Inspired Mozartis based on the true story of how Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, one of the world’s most remarkable musicians, was inspired by one of the world’s most unremarkable birds: a starling.
In this charming picture book, author Mireille Messier tells the story of a very special relationship and how it began: with a chance musical encounter. And Matte Stephens’s playful art captures both the grandeur of 18th century Vienna and the budding unlikely friendship between a famous musician and a humble starling.
Star: The Bird Who Inspired Mozart
Tundra, October 2022
Story by Mireille Messier
Illustrations by Matte Stephens
|Themes :||Classical music, bird, pet, friendship, inspiration, History, true story, biography|
“In 18th-century Vienna, a starling explores and replicates the noises she hears all around her. She mimics sounds from the streets, animal calls, and even human speech. For a time, she perches in a tree outside the window of a musician and his family. When the starling is captured and taken to a pet shop, she becomes despondent and loses her song. But soon she is bought and taken home by the very musician whose window she used to frequent—none other than Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The narrative draws inspiration from the true story of Mozart’s purchase of a pet starling and his transcription of the bird’s song, eerily similar to one of his unpublished compositions. Where music historians differ on their explanations of this mystery, Messier posits a charming prior connection between man and bird. She characterizes the bird with winning details, including its repeated use of the German-accented onomatopoeia “Piep!” Stephens provides cheerful poster-colored paintings in a naive style, solid shapes, and loosely drawn lines suggesting facial expressions and environmental details. He injects subtle humor into the nooks and crannies of the story, particularly the face of the dyspeptic bird catcher and the starling’s casual soiling of the piano in front of Mozart’s dismayed student. VERDICT This is an endearing piece of historical fiction, and perhaps an early entry point into Mozart’s oeuvre.”
School Library Journal
“Launching from legends about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s musically precocious starling, Messier imagines an origin story for the pet, a fresh entry point into the life of an icon of Western classical music. Exploring Vienna, a starling chick imitates springtime sounds before perching outside Mozart’s window, his music “more beautiful than anything she had ever heard.” When a bird-catcher cages her, her chirping of a memorable tune finds the ear of its composer and (…) inspires a lengthy creative collaboration. Messier’s Vienna burbles with German-language sounds, including a cat’s “miau” and a townsperson’s “Guten morgen,” providing opportunities for readers to imitate along with the starling. Stephens renders high-contrast illustrations using unlined shapes to create simple, blocky figures portrayed with fanciful skin tones in whimsically off-kilter cityscapes. An author’s note concludes.”
Tom loves everything!
Even the things that most kids do NOT love, like tofu and turtlenecks and dandelions and rainy days. These short, fun, rhyming poems are Tom’s perfect ode to the everyday unloved.
« Bonjour! Je suis Tom-Aime-Tout!
Car oui, en effet j’aime tout, tout TOUT!
Voici des poèmes que j’ai inventés
Pour célébrer certains mal-aimés!»
Éditions Tête Haute, August 2022
Text Mireille Messier
Illustrations Alice Lemelin
|Themes :||Poetry, poem, ode, everyday, love, humour|
Look what just arrived! It’s my new picture book, Tom-Aime-Tout (Tom-Loves-All)!
Tom-Aime-Tout is the 6th book in a new series called Petite Poésie, published by Éditions Tête Haute. This collection is aimed at readers 4 & up and are fun stories told in poem format. In my book, young Tom decides to write odes (short, rhyming love poems) to things and animals that HE loves but that are unloved by most other kids. Like tofu, dandelions, turtle necks and the dreaded naps!
Tom-Aime-Tout is also my first book with the very talented Alice Lemelin whose clever illustrations add even more humour to the poems.
I look forward to presenting Tom-Aime-Tout in classrooms this Fall and having fun with immersion students exploring funny odes to the unloved!
I am thrilled to announce that Sergeant Billy has won the 2022 Hackmatack Young Readers’ Choice Award in the English non-fiction category! This award from young readers in the Maritimes means a lot to me. Thank you to the Hackmatack team and to all the young readers who took the time to learn about (and vote for!) this brave little goat.
Papy calls them skeeters.
Mom calls them mosquitoes.
I don’t call them at all.
But still they come and… I HATE THEM!
Mosquitoes do have a way of ruining nice summer evenings, but they are useful and important to the ecosystem.
Discover how and why mosquitoes are important for flowers, fish, frogs and bats. And maybe in other ways we haven’t even thought of yet!
Je déteste les moustiques, mais… (in French only, for now!)
Éditions de l’Isatis, collection Clin d’oeil, April 2022
Story by Mireille Messier
Illustrations by Catherine Petit
ISBN : 978-2925-088615
|Themes :||Insects, environement, nature, non-fiction, ecosystem|
Have you had enough of winter? Are you sick of snow? Yes? Splendid! I have the perfect thing for you…
Je déteste les moustiques, mais.. is in the Clin d’oeil series published by Éditions de l’Isatis and is illustrated by Catherine Petit – the same illustrator I had the pleasure of working with on my picture book Une bestiole à l’école (what can I say, we LOVE bugs!)
Je déteste les moustiques, mais… will be in stores in April 2022. Just in time for bug season!
I was recently asked by the dynamic team at Metropolis bleu / Blue Metropolis to write an original story and record a podcast of it for their Young Ecologist Club. My mission was to create a short story for young people on the theme of durability.
My text, entitled S.O.S. Litière (S.O.S Cat Litter), is a bit of autofiction. It was inspired by our new acquisition of two kittens. (And, yes, for those who are counting that means we now have FIVE indoor cats in our little Toronto home!) Five cats obviously also means a staggering amount of cat litter. While researching more affordable options I came across some disheartening facts about how awful for the environment and non sustainable some types of cat litter can be. So I decided to write about it (and to opt for a “greener” solution in real life).
I am thrilled to announce that my picture book, Sergeant Billy: The True Story of the Goat Who Went to War, has recently won not one, not two but THREE young readers’ choice awards.
Being that Sergeant Billy is a goat that came from the town of Broadview in Saskatchewan, I am especially happy that this true story resonated with the readers of this province.
Thank you to all the kids who voted for Billy and to all the teachers, librarians, parents and organizers that make these litterary awards possible.