Stellaluna is a fictional female fruit bat in a children's book of the same name by author Jannell Cannon, written in 1994. In fact, this book aired on the PBS series Reading Rainbow that same year. On that episode, Anne Jackson narrated the story. It is featured in the 2001 movie I am Sam and is a very influential factor. In addition, MGM and Scholastic Productions released a 2004 animated version of Stellaluna on DVD.

In 2005 the author received a Bat Conservation Award from the Organization for Bat Conservation.[1]


A mother fruit bat loves her baby called Stellaluna very much and would never let anything happen to her. When the two are attacked by an owl, the predator knocks Stellaluna out of her mother's safe embrace. Soon the baby bat ends up in a bird's nest filled with three baby birds named Pip, Flitter and Flap. The mother bird will let Stellaluna be part of the family only if she eats bugs and not hang by her feet and sleep at night.

When all the baby animals grow, they learn to fly. When Stellaluna and the birds are out playing, it gets dark and the birds go home without her because they will not be able to see in the dark. Stellaluna keeps flying, but when Stellaluna's wings hurt, she stops to rest. When she did, she hung by her thumbs. Soon another bat comes to ask why Stellaluna is hanging by her thumbs. She told the bats the story of what had happened after they were attacked by the owl. Another bat interrupts the story. That bat is Stellaluna's mother. Stellaluna and her mother are happily reunited and Stellaluna finally understands why she is so different.


Animated version

On July 20, 2004, an animated version of Stellaluna was produced by Scholastic Productions and released on DVD by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. However, this version was panned by some fans of the original book as "truly unfaithful" and received mixed to negative reviews.

Film vs. Book

  • At the beginning of the DVD version, there are a group of bats flying along with Mother Bat and Stellaluna, but in the book, Mother Bat and Stellaluna flew by themselves.
  • When Stellaluna was caught by her feet on a tree branch after falling from Mother Bat in the DVD version, she did not shout out for her like in the book.
  • In the DVD version, the baby birds were more rebellious and Mama Bird was nicer, but they were not in the book.
  • Three new characters were added in the DVD version: A trustworthy and deluded Tarzan-like superhero jumping spider named (insert here) and a fashionable toucan and parrot duo named (insert here).
  • The DVD version also added two new songs: "Upside Down," in which a sad Stellaluna sings about her newly adapted bird motives, and "Make It Over," sung by Stellaluna and the bird duo about getting a makeover.
  • In the DVD version, Stellaluna was discovered in a bat cave by a group of bats and reunited with Mother Bat, but in the book, the bats discover her hanging on the branch by her thumbs and Mother Bat finally found her baby.
  • In the book, Stellaluna took a flight with the bats in search for a mango on a tree, but in the DVD version, they battle the owl that attacked Mother Bat.
  • Stellaluna doesn't teach Pip, Flitter and Flap how to act like a bat and fly at night in the DVD version.

Stage version

In 2009 the Center for Puppetry Arts performed Stellaluna adapted by the Tears of Joy Theatre from Portland, Oregon. Stellaluna



  1. "Janell Cannon, Author of "Stellaluna," Receives Award". The Organization for Bat Conservation. Retrieved 2009-03-23. [dead link]

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