There are over 38 characters in Petronia’s “Sparrow’s Tale” world. They are all developed with back stories and unique characteristics developed over years by Joe communicating his ideas to multiple illustrators. Kids can discover the possibilities of these characters and stories being dreamt up by Petronia for these character may live in Petronia’s imagination.
With our launch, we’ll focus on some of the major characters in Petronia’s life including her family, teachers, mentors, and her nemesis — Lars.
In Petronia’s world, everyone is a bird or an insect. They have all of the emotions and desires of human beings however, when these characters are empowered and focussed by their passion, their beaks transform or morph into a musical instrument or something that is representative of that passion. This state of “zen” is what some might refer to as “being in the zone” where one is so focussed that time ceases to exist.
A common theme of everyone in Petronia’s world is music. She loves music and all of her friends at her school, “The Learning Tree” and at the other school, “Eagle Nest” are immersed in music. Petronia comes from a musical family. Her last name is Tone and her brother (whose instrument of choice is the drums), sister, Mom, and Dad are all musical even though her mom and dad have chosen career paths outside of music. Petronia’s Grandmother was a famous Maestro and her adopted Uncle Miles teaches unorthodox lessons about music and life. Her best friend, Sunny is a gifted song writer and Petronia will help him to find his talents.
The two schools in our stories in our story both focus on teaching music, however they are quite different in their approach. While Eagle’s Nest is more formal and classical, The Learning Tree has a more organic approach to teaching music. Petronia is sometimes torn between which school she likes best.
This 5th grade dreamer aspires to be a great musician. She struggles to overcome life’s obstacles and especially strives for acceptances and support from her parents and peers. When she is completely immersed in her music, her beak morphs into a recorder or a saxophone.
She is sweet, innocent, and vulnerable. Sometimes she’s very confident and other times very unsure as to how or where she “fits in.” A Sparrow’s Tale is Petrronia’s “Coming of Age Story.” Her parents, teachers, mentors, and friends help her to figure out who she is and what is most important.
Like her father, Petronia has an enlarged heart. It affects in many ways. She is a little more sensitive and vulnerable because of it. She’s been teased about it and that makes her even more sensative, but she is strong enough to overcome the teasing and thinks of this characteristic as a blessing and a common trait creating a bond between her and her father.
Petronia’s father, Benjamin Tone is a talented musician who decided to become an accountant as he found that a more stable and practical way to provide for his family.
There’s no question, he’s a loving and excellent father. He believes in traditional values and discipline and as he became a “practical” adult, his passion for music became less in the forefront of his life and his methods for helping Petronia with her lessons became more formal and strict. His philosophy about music have become more about repetition and disciplined practice and less about observations, discovery, and passion.
He shares many characteristics with his daughter including an enlarged heart. That represents a bond between them.
Perhaps left over from his younger, more carefree years, Benjamin has a fun, funny, awkward side to him. His comic nature comes out when he’s a little nervous or unsure. His welcomed sense of humor is sometimes surprising to his friends and family.
The wise old owl teaches all of the students at the Learning Tree. Her methods and history is legendary; a street was named after her; songs were written about her. She is the teacher that students will never forget and has transformed lives sparking a passion for music and for life in so many of her young pupils over the years. She is magical and mystical in her wisdom and yet warm and nurturing in her caring.
All the kids love her and come back to visit her and seek her wisdom through their adulthood.
Petronia’s best friend is a “Spider Bird.” Like Petronia, he’s a kid that’s finding his way in the big world. Often times, Sunny lacks confidence and needs his friends to help him to believe in himself and his talents.
Small, lovable, innocent, and sweet, Sunny has the characteristics of a talented underdog that everyone wants to root for. Only bullies would turn on a guy like this (and they do).
Petronia’ mom is a nurturing caregiver. Even though she has a passion for music, she realized that her calling is to care for people, so she became a nurse. A talented singer, Allegra uses her singing in her career by singing to patients in order to calm them. She loves her family and knows things about Benjamin that would surprise their kids. She’s known Benjamin since childhood and knows how musically talented he is. She’s seen him suppress his talent in order to provide for his family.
Allegra and Benjamin have a very healthy and trusting marriage. Their love for one another is always evident, despite the little arguments they have.
Benjamin’s best friend, has become part of the family. Despite his rough years of active military duty, he’s never lost his wonderful sense of humor and through witnessing tragedies, he’s learned a lot about human behavior. He loves to share his joyous passion for rock and roll with young kids. He teaches them through his unorthodox lessons. He loves the tone family and thinks of them as his own family.
His his whimsical yet worldly philosophy, ideology, and wisdom give him an aura like a down to earth wizard sometimes… almost “Yoda-like”
Star pupil of the Eagle Nest Academy, Lars Tick is a bit of a bully. He knows how to tease other kids to the point where that teasing gets under their skin and destroys their confidence. He’s talented, but instead of relying on his talent, he uses his teasing and bullying to stay ahead of his adversaries.
Like Petronia, he comes from a musically gifted family.
Petronia’s sister and brother are sibling rivals. They tease each other like most brothers and sisters do.
Max is a talented drummer and he likes to play in a hard rock style. He’s dark and tough and wants to make sure everyone sees that with his clothing and long black hair. But Max is a good guy and underneath his tough exterior, he loves his family and has a good heart.
Izzy is as sweet as can be. She is the baby of the family and she doesn’t mind the kind of attention that goes along with that. She looks up to her sister and loves to sing. Someday she hopes to be “just like Petronia.”