Time for another Perfect Picture Book Friday! This wonderful meme is hosted by Susanna Leonard Hill. My featured book today is Marie-Louise Gay’s Stella, Star of the Sea. This is also in keeping with our bimonthly theme, Girl Power and Women’s Wiles.
Story and Pictures By: Marie-Louise Gay
Reading Level: Ages 4-8
Publisher: Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press (1999)
Themes: Family, sibling love, curiosity, imagination, nature
Opening Lines: Stella and Sam were spending a day at the seashore. It was Sam’s very first time.
Synopsis: Stella and her little brother are spending the day at the sea. Stella has been to the sea before and knows all its secrets, but Sam has many questions. “Where do starfish come from? Does a catfish purr? Does a sea horse gallop?” Stella has an answer for them all. The only thing she isn’t sure of… is whether Sam will ever come into the water. (Taken from the back of the book)
Why I Like This Book: Marie-Louise Gay created an adorable and (definitely!) lovable character in Stella. The soft watercolor illustrations on the cover are beautiful. Stella has captured my heart from the moment I saw her floating in the water with her bright orange hair, rosy cheeks, and winning smile. She was indeed the star of the sea.
Aside from her physical attributes, Stella is a strong female protagonist with a wild imagination and knack for adventures. She is an exuberant, high-spirited young girl who loves the sea and enjoys swimming. She is a good role model to girls who have younger siblings. She encourages her little brother Sam (who is equally adorable!) to go in the water with her. In spite of Sam being stubborn, Stella is patient, persistent, and does not give up so easily. Both Stella and Sam are sweethearts, and their relationship as sister and brother is simply brimming with love, love, love.
And just to show you how cute these little ones are, here is an excerpt from the book:
“Where do starfish come from?” asked Sam.
“From the sky,” answered Stella. “Starfish are shooting stars that fell in love with the sea.”
“Weren’t the stars afraid of drowning?” asked Sam.
“No,” said Stella. “They all learned how to swim.”
Links to Resources: Here are a few classroom ideas that would help teachers and students.
1. Ask the students to name the different types of sea creatures found in the book.
3. Preschoolers will enjoy this coloring activity, the blank sheet of which was provided by the House of Anansi Press.