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Tundra Book Group Fall 2022

Star: The Bird Who Inspired Mozart
By (author): Mireille Messier Illustrated by: Matte Stephens
Mireille Messier ,

Illustrated by :

Matte Stephens


Tundra Books



Product Form:



Children: Age (years) 4 - 8, Grade (US) P - 3
Oct 11, 2022
$23.99 CAD


12.31in x 8.75 x 0.4 in | 1.02 lb

Page Count:

36 pages


Tundra Books
JUVENILE FICTION / Animals / Birds
A chance encounter with a starling inspires Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in this picture book based on a true story.

Star: The Bird Who Inspired Mozart is 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.

Story Locale: Vienna

UNIQUE ILLUSTRATIONS: Matte Stephens has created one-of-a-kind, beautiful art. 

INTRIGUING CONTENT: A bird whose song inspired a musical genius is sure to delight. 

STEAM CONTENT: Back matter provides more background to the story and details about starlings in the text. 

SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING: The story presents topics such as empathy and respect for small creatures.

AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR: Mireille is a household name in Canada and has many accolades under her belt. 

MIREILLE MESSIER is a Montreal-born, Ottawa-raised and now Toronto-based author, freelance writer and voice-over artist. She has published over twenty children’s books, including The Branch, which was nominated for a Governor General’s Award, and Sergeant Billy, winner of the Rocky Mountain Book Award, the Shining Willow Award and the Christopher Book Award. She has written for youth magazines and has collaborated in the production of many family programs and interactive apps for CBC, TVO/TFO and Teletoon. Mireille enjoys music, reading graphic novels and, of course, birds!

Author Residence: Toronto, Ontario

MATTE STEPHENS is a painter, illustrator and object maker. His work has been shown in galleries from New York to Seattle, and he has illustrated several children’s books including Mr. Flux by Kyo Maclear and Tigers and Tea with Toppy by Barbara Kerley and Rhoda Knight Kalt. Matte lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire, with his wife Vivienne and their pets Polly, Irving, Henry and Mr. Charlie.

Illustrator Residence: Peterborough, New Hampshire

Publicity: Add to Base on a True Story campaign

Pursue off book publications with birders and birding community

Musical TundraTime activity

Author Website: www.mireille.ca / www.mattestephens.net

Author Social Media: @messier_et_cie

“[A]n endearing piece of historical fiction, and perhaps an early entry point into Mozart’s oeuvre.” School Library Journal

“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.” Publishers Weekly

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