In this enchanting picture book, Stella and Sam are spending the day at the beach. Stella has been there before and knows all the sea's secrets, but Sam has many questions. "Does a catfish purr? Does a sea horse gallop?" Stella has an answer for them all. The only thing she isn’t sure of, and neither are we, is whether Sam will ever come into the water. Exquisite watercolors bring a day at the beach alive in this perfect summer story. Gently humorous, Stella, Star of the Sea also captures the special relationship between a young girl and her baby brother a responsibility that can be both lots of fun and very trying.
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Marie-Louise Gay's squat, snub-nosed children with their frenzied locks are as familiar to under-fives as the wild things of Maurice Sendak. In Stella, Star of the Sea (which won a Governor General's Award for illustration), the gifted picture-book artist introduces the irresistible duo of Sam and his spirited older sister, Stella. "Stella and Sam were spending a day at the sea shore," Gay begins this playful celebration of summer, adding, "It was Sam's very first time." Stella is an adventurer, eager to dive to the ocean floor, tame sea horses, and dig a hole to China, but her little brother, Sam, is made of more cautious stuff. When Stella, looking out at the sea from the top of a delightfully round sand dune, exclaims, "Isn't it beautiful, Sam?" he observes with a characteristic deadpan, "It's very big... and noisy."
Gay humorously contrasts the children's impressions of the sea in pictures and dialogue that capture Sam's experience of its frightening enormity, as well as Stella's joy in its secret treasures. To fend off the prospect of a swim, Sam keeps asking Stella anxious questions like "Does a sea horse gallop?" Stella's replies are as authoritative as they are imaginative: "'Yes!' cried Stella. 'And you can ride a sea horse bareback.'" Gay's whimsical watercolors show Stella swimming alongside tropical fish and holding onto the back of a child-sized pink sea horse, while Sam hangs behind, a tiny speck in a water ring on the distant shore. Ultimately, of course, Stella's irrepressible enthusiasm wins over Sam's sober hesitancy, and in the final image of this charming picture book the two of them float happily in a luminous blue green sea. (Baby to age 4) --Lisa AlwardFrom School Library Journal:
Kindergarten-Grade 2-Stella and her younger brother are enjoying a day at the beach. Well, Stella is, anyway. Sam, who is there for the very first time, is full of questions. "Is the water cold?" "Are there any sea monsters?" "Where do starfish come from?" His sister has all of the answers, though not necessarily the factual ones. Starfish, she says, come from the sky, and moon shells come from the moon. Stella, who also knows "all [the sea's] secrets," is ready to go into the water. Sam, however, still needs assurance before he is ready to take the plunge. So, there are more questions. "Does a sea horse neigh?...Does a sea horse gallop?" At long last, he decides to join his sister for some fun in the ocean. Gay's illustrations, done primarily in watercolors with a touch of paper collage, are bright and have a whimsical touch. They show a self-assured child swimming and playing in the water while her apprehensive brother watches from the shore. A supplemental purchase.
Roxanne Burg, Thousand Oaks Library, CA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Groundwood Books, 2010. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110888999720
Book Description Groundwood Books, 2010. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Marie-Louise Gay (illustrator). book. Bookseller Inventory # M0888999720