Stellaluna is an endearing story of a fruit bat who was raised by a Mama Bird after being separated from her mother. Stellaluna struggles to fit in with her new family. However, no matter how she imitates her “siblings” Pip, Flap, and Flitter, she remains unhappy. She is forced to let go of her “bat ways”, which certainly does not help. But it was either this or lose the only family she has ever known. In this quest to be just like the birds, she finds her way back home, much to the delight of Mother Bat.
This beautifully-illustrated tale by Janell Cannon, is a story about one’s search for identity and family. It was when she was able to freely behave like a bat that Stellaluna experienced joy. This is a wonderful book about non-conformity and being comfortable in one’s skin. A child who is struggling with insecurities will relate with Stellaluna and her quest for acceptance and belonging. The friendship of the three birds and Stellaluna is also worth highlighting. That they are able to overcome their differences, accept them, and still be good friends is a lesson for everyone – children and grown-ups alike.
What we loved
We truly enjoyed reading this together, with my three-year-old empathizing with Stellaluna and her “stepsisters” Pip, Flap and Flitter. She whimpered when Stellaluna got lost and laughed when she tried act like the birds. She cheered the babies on when they were learning how to fly and smiled when Stellaluna found her way to the other bats. Her favorite part, though, she said, was when Mother Bat found Stellaluna again. The wonderful illustrations of Janell Cannon are also a sight to behold. The details and the general feeling evoked by the acrylic and color pencil art support the heartwarming story that is Stellaluna.
Going beyond the story
The story shows how Stellaluna discovered being able to see at night – something that her friends tried but failed to do. This was a perfect opportunity for the Energizer Bunny and I to talk about bats being nocturnal and how this means having certain qualities (such as being able to see at night) that other animals may not have.
Children ages three-years-old and above will enjoy this story and the detailed illustrations of the book. Older children will surely devour the Bat Facts at the end of the story. It is a wonderful read-aloud for children of all ages and advanced independent readers will definitely take pleasure in Stellaluna’s happy-ending story.