Reviewed by Laurie Doan
Janell Cannon Stellaluna; illus. by the author
46 pp. Harcourt Brace & Company, 1993 ISBN 0-15-280217-7 $16.00
Fragile like crepe paper velvet, faun colored Stellaluna, a fruit bat, clings to her mother as they sweep through the air steered by the scent of ripe fruit. A silent owl sweeps in attacking the pair and as her mother tries to fend him off, Stellaluna tumbles out of her grasp. “Her baby wings were as limp and useless as wet paper. Down, down she went, faster and faster, into the forest below.” And so Stellaluna finds herself thrust into a world that is foreign to fruit bats. Finding herself in a nest of baby birds, she adopts their ways and forms a special bond with them. But something is missing and Stellaluna strays further and further from the nest until one day she is reunited with her mother.
Author Janell Cannon has worked for the public library system developing programs that incorporate her love for animals especially, “those not popularly thought of as cute and cuddly.” In this book she has taken a highly misunderstood creature and created a character that children will love and remember. The illustrations, done with glistening acrylics and Prismacolor pencils capture the sweet tropical days and gossamer nights in the life of this curious and loving bat. This dreamlike tale confirms the long-standing saying of making new friends and keeping the old for one is silver and the other’s gold. If children are as captivated by this story as I am convinced they will be, Stellaluna will undoubtedly become an old friend to them too.
Laurie Doan is the YA librarian at Tredyffrin Library. Her pastimes
include writing stories and watching ice skating, and her favorite
mammal is the fruit bat.