June 22, 2013

Read Me A Story, Stella

by Marie-Louise Gay
Groundwood Books
978-1-55498-216-5
32 pp.
Ages 2-6
August, 2013

Imaginative, inquisitive and compassionate Stella, our youngest Canadian red-haired delight, courtesy of author-illustrator Marie-Louise Gay, has re-emerged as the brilliant reader and sharer of knowledge in Read Me a Story, Stella.  (Many children will recognize Stella and her younger brother Sam and his sidekick dog, Fred, from the television series, but, as all good readers know, great movies and shows always come from books, and such is the case with Stella and her brother.)

As Sam endeavours to create a doghouse for Fred from branches that he has collected, Stella is enjoying the humour of a book that might cover the stories of Stone Soup, Caramba and The Three Little Pigs or versions thereof.  But Sam, knowing that Stella has all the answers, is sweetly relentless in his questioning.  "Are there crocodiles in the pond?" "Caterpillars become butterflies? How do they do that?" "Will the kite get caught on a cloud?"  And Stella does not disappoint, drawing from her vast reading of fiction -- "But there is a big old toad wearing a velvet jacket." -- and non-fiction -- "Here's a picture of a caterpillar in my insect book."  Even after a bountiful day and evening of exploring, sharing, learning and reading, when Fred can't sleep, Stella draws upon her stories to create a personalized one for a little boy and his dog.

Marie-Louise Gay has taken young readers from Stella's first steps (When Stella was Very, Very Small) to her poetic explorations of the forest, sky, sea and snow, and now she shares the endless possibilities and wonder of reading.  With a light touch in her text and watercolour and pencil illustrations, Marie-Louise Gay easily melds childhood romps and sibling exploits together in a world of natural wonder and of enlightening literature.  There's no more cherished place to be a child.

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If you haven't enjoyed Marie-Louise Gay's Stella and Sam stories in print, definitely the best way to appreciate them, check them out.

Other Stella books:
  • Stella, Star of the Sea (Groundwood, 1992)
  • Stella, Queen of the Snow (Groundwood, 2000)
  • Stella, Fairy of the Forest (Groundwood, 2002)
  • Stella, Princess of the Sky (Groundwood, 2004)
  • When Stella Was Very, Very Small (Groundwood, 2009)

Sam's books:
  • Good Morning Sam (Groundwood, 2003)
  • Good Night Sam (Groundwood, 2003)
  • What Are You Doing, Sam? (Groundwood, 2006)

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