The Children’s Bookshelf – November & December 2009
11 November 2009 826 views No Comment
By Lisa Pimental Johnson “Every night before going to bed, we should listen to the trees talking. They tell stories about holding up the sky with their branches and tickling the bellies of the smallest clouds.” The enchanting world of Stella unfolds from a small child’s perspective--with wonder, curiosity, and the sense that everything is possible. “When you are very, very small, words look like ants running off pages,” or “when it snows, it seems like the whole world disappears”: Simple, image provoking words. Not only are the words tenderly written, the illustrations done by the author as well are gorgeous. Turn each page slowly, soak up the colors, details, and tantalize your eyes in the watery sunshine of the drawings. Sweet drawings of a little red haired girl, Stella, will engage your heart. The colors and whimsy of the art add to the playfulness of the story as well. Mary Louise Gay, the author/illustrator, reminds us in her book, When Stella Was Very, Very Small, to bend our knees, lay on the floor, and pretend to be a snake with our children. It might lead to jumping up and acting like a hungry rabbit that eats graham crackers chased down with pink lemonade! The “Stella” inside all of us is ready to come out and play again... In honor of Halloween, I need to mention a few ragged-breathing-nose-whistling-claw-scraping-oozing-green monsters. It all begins one night (of course!) when a little boy, Ethan, checks underneath his bed to greet his monster. Instead he finds a note, “Gone fishing. Back in a week. Gabe” As the night unfolds, many substitute monsters try to win his affections underneath his bed but are all wrong for various creepy reasons.
- Herbert’s teeth aren’t sharp enough.
- Ralph’s claws have pink nail polish.
- Cynthia is a girl and her tail has a pink ribbon.
- Mack’s slobbering makes Ethan giggle.