Star and the Maestro

How a Musical Bird Made Melodies with Mozart

by Thor Hanson

On Sale: 09/24/2024

Star and the Maestro

How a Musical Bird Made Melodies with Mozart

by Thor Hanson

illustrated by Matt Schu

On Sale: 09/24/2024


About the Book

This narrative nonfiction picture book about Mozart and the singing starling who stole his heart is based on the true story of the famous composer and his bird. Written by noted biologist and author Thor Hanson and illustrated by acclaimed artist Matt Schu, this kid-friendly tribute to creativity, music, nature, and friendship includes fascinating back matter. 

A long time ago in Vienna, Austria, a starling was for sale in a shop. Star wasn’t fancy or flashy, but he had a marvelous voice and could mimic intricate songs. When a passerby recognized his own musical composition being chirped, Star found a new friend in Mozart. Mozart purchased Star and took him home to his Vienna apartments, where Star and his maestro continued to compose and make music that echoed around the world and is still played and performed today.

Star and the Maestro is based on the true story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his pet starling, Star. With a rhythmic, rhyming text and beautiful, detailed illustrations, this picture book will appeal to families, librarians, classroom teachers, and animal and music lovers of all ages. An excellent read-aloud, this entertaining and child-friendly nonfiction picture book is about the special bond between two talented musicians and the unique ways in which humans and animals interact and features extensive back matter by noted biologist Thor Hanson.

Critical Praise

“Mozart makes beautiful music with Star, a starling who can imitate many kinds of sounds. . . . The story is told in light rhyming verse, and whether or not readers know much about Mozart, they’ll enjoy seeing the ordinary bird triumph over the more vibrant and unusual specimens at the pet store. . . . [This picture book] zeroes in on a delightful, quirky aspect of the famed composer’s life.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Tackling music history via a bird’s-eye view, Hanson spotlights the pedigreed pet fad in the Vienna of Mozart. A common starling feels out of place in a shop. . . . But the bird’s skill at mimicry lands it a happy home—and a composition partner—when Mozart hears the starling repeat 17 notes from one of his own composition. . . Accentuating contrast between light and shadow in digitally rendered artwork, Schu threads the black of the starling’s feathers and golden hue of its beak through each illustration, dramatically anchoring the palette” — Publishers Weekly


Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062676498
  • ISBN 10: 0062676490
  • Imprint: Greenwillow Books
  • On Sale: 09/24/2024
  • Pages: 40
  • List Price:24.99 CAD
  • Ages: 4 to 8
  • BISAC1 : JUVENILE NONFICTION / Concepts / Sounds
  • BISAC3 : JUVENILE NONFICTION / Biography & Autobiography / Music
  • BISAC4 : JUVENILE NONFICTION / Music / Classical
  • BISAC5 : JUVENILE NONFICTION / Animals / Birds

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