Perfect Picture Book: Stella, Star of the Sea

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.

Stella, Star of the Sea

Story and Pictures By: Marie-Louise Gay
Reading Level: Ages 4-8
Publisher: Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press (1999)
Genre: Fiction
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)

Stella running to greet the sea. Will Sam ever get in the water with her? Book spread courtesy of the House of Anansi Press. Click on the image to be taken to the websource.

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.

If you love the ocean, you'll get a kick from Marie-Louise Gay's beautiful illustrations. Book spread courtesy of the House of Anansi Press. Click on the image to be taken to the websource.

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.

Stella shows Sam the vastness of the sea. Will he finally get in the water? Book spread courtesy of the House of Anansi Press. Click on the image to be taken to the websource.

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.

2. Help students create an ocean-themed bookmark. A simple 8-step guide with illustrations can be found in wikiHow. A sample ‘Stella and Sam’ bookmark is provided by the House of Anansi Press.

3. Preschoolers will enjoy this coloring activity, the blank sheet of which was provided by the House of Anansi Press.

Winner, 2001 Ruth Schwartz Award
AWB Reading Challenge Update: 38 (35)

Picture Book Challenge Update: 50 of 120

16 Comments on Perfect Picture Book: Stella, Star of the Sea

  1. Oh my goodness, that little excerpt you put in there is pure “adorable!” Stella seems like a great character; I will be looking for this. Thanks for recommending it!


    • Fats Suela // April 21, 2012 at 7:33 am // Reply

      I agree! I love, love, love Stella. She is my current favorite! And yes, that excerpt is pure cuteness! I wanted to add more but I might end up typing the entire contents of the book! That’s how good it is! Thanks for dropping by, Betsy. 🙂


  2. Stella is soo lovable. That excerpt is sweetness. I appreciate you adding this to the list. I have asked my library to order it. (They don’t have it) Those activities are really great suggestions.


    • Fats Suela // April 21, 2012 at 7:36 am // Reply

      Glad to find a fellow Stella-fan in you, Robyn! I was fortunate to come across the website of the House of Anansi Press, and find all the wonderful sample book spreads, portraying the different attributes of Stella. Would you happen to know if this is the first book in the Stella and Sam series? 🙂


  3. Such and enchating story. I love the sea and any story I can read. Stella has a lot of persnality and is a fun character for kids. Illustrations are beautifu Fats. Great activity suggestions.


    • Aren’t they adorable?? The sea has a peaceful effect on me. I’m sure that you would find this book as delightful as I did, Pat. 🙂


      • I loved your choice. I’m headed to the Gulf at the end of May. Can’t wait to be there.


        • Fats Suela // April 21, 2012 at 11:01 am //

          That sounds like an adventure. My week-long vacation will start in 4 days. I was supposed to go to Seattle but my tax refund will not make it before then, so Mikey and I would probably go somewhere closer. Like within California. Then again, spontaneity is key to fun! How long will you be there? 🙂


  4. Stella would be a big hit in the classroom. There are so many connections that the students will make. Thank you for sharing!


    • Hello! I agree. She is lovable and easily relatable. Kids would love her and learn a lot from her. Thank you for visiting! 🙂


  5. What an adorable book and beautiful sweet illustrations…. love this! You certainly know how to pickem.. Hope you have a great vacation where-ever you go Fats (is it okay to call you that?)


    • Fats Suela // April 22, 2012 at 9:46 am // Reply

      Thank you Ms. patientdreamer! Stella is a gem! 🙂 The funny thing was, I just bought this book the other day, and I drafted the review that same night! Even more interesting was that this book was a last minute purchase. Right before I was leaving the picture book section of Barnes & Noble, I saw Stella with her bright orange hair swimming in the middle of all these hardbound picture books! (I got the paperback copy.) She has captured my heart ever since. 🙂

      Thank you for the well wishes! Three more work days and I’ll be off to vacation land. And to answer your question, YES it is absolutely okay to call me that. No offense taken. I’ve had that nickname since I was 8. 😀


  6. I LOVE the Stella books. I have them all. THanks for the resource links.

    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs


    • Fats Suela // April 23, 2012 at 1:30 am // Reply

      Oooh, you lucky one!! 🙂 I’ll definitely start collecting them!!! Love, love, love! Thanks for dropping by, Barbara. 🙂


  7. I love Stella and her confident, creative and so satisfactory answers to her brothers questions. Somehow deep inside I knew that’s where starfish come from! I love that illustration of Stella, Sam and the dog on the dune. Enjoy your vacation, Fats, wherever you end up!


    • Fats Suela // April 23, 2012 at 1:32 am // Reply

      I love that illustration, too. It’s so Stella. She is amazing! She definitely deserves to be called a Star. Thanks Joanna! One day closer! 🙂


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