Bernadette Peters Sheds Fun, New Light on Pit Bulls in ‘Stella is a Star’
Bernadette Peters reads from her new children's book, "Stella is a Star," about a pit bull who longs to be a princess pig. (Photo Credit: Mykwain A. Gainey)
A new children’s book, penned by renowned Broadway actress Bernadette Peters, tells the story of a shamed pit bull that longs to be a princess pig – loved by all and not feared for her impressive set of choppers.
Peters presented the illustrated story, “Stella is a Star,” to a group of school-aged children at Dylan’s Candy Bar, in midtown Manhattan, reading and singing the tale of a dog named Stella, modelled after her own beloved pit bull.
The story might be fiction, but it offers a valuable lesson to all, Peters later told Zootoo Pet News, as looks can often be deceiving.
“I wanted to write about Stella, who realizes that she is a pit bull and then thinks that no one likes her, so starts masquerading herself as a pig,” said Peters, the owner of two shelter dogs and one cat. “And I think it’s a lot like us in life, in that we sometimes don’t accept ourselves when we are young and we try to become something that we are not and it’s a great life lesson to learn – to love and accept who you are.”
In the book – the second for Peters, who also wrote “Broadway Barks,” about her other dog Kramer, in 2008 – Stella the Pit joins a dance school just for pigs. With her faux curly pink tail and golden crown, she is embraced – albeit dubiously so – by her piglet peers.
On the night of a dance recital, though, Stella’s true doggy colors are revealed. She is surprised to find that her teacher and friends knew all along, and didn’t care, that she was a pit bull. She is then free to just be “a dog who loves to dance,” “no more princess pig, and no need to pretend.”
Peters says that if people take the time to consider a pit bull as a potential pet, they will find pleasantly surprising conclusions of a similar variety.
“I love to change people’s perceptions about pit bulls, and to show them how naturally sweet they are,” said Peters, who holds two Tony Awards. “If you just take a dog by itself, it will naturally be affectionate and love people. But anyone can take a dog and mistreat it and make it nervous.”
Peters’ commitment to pets, and often overlooked, discarded animals, in particular, prompted her to launch her charity event Broadway Barks 11 years ago, with her friend Mary Tyler Moore. The adopt-a-thon, held in Shubert Alley, the heart of the Broadway theater district, first started by benefiting just five New York City area animal welfare and shelter groups.
The event has since grown considerably. In 2007, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg proclaimed July 14 “Broadway Barks Day,” and in 2008, fundraising proceeds benefited 25 animal welfare groups.
Profits from both “Broadway Barks” and “Stella is a Star” go toward Broadway Barks, the organization, Peters says, noting that additional funding for this cause is a major inspiration to keep on writing.
To purchase or find out more information about “Stella is a Star,” visit www.amazon.com/Stella-Star-Bernadette-Peters/dp/1609050088/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1273597578&sr=8-1
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