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Bella and Stella Come Home

Overview

After Bella says good-bye to her old house, it's time to meet her new one. But this house isn't anything like Bella expected. The entranceway has ten steps instead of three, the bathtub has feet, and worst of all, it does not feel like home. But Bella knows how to be brave, and with her imaginary best friend Stella by her side, it doesn't take long for her feelings about her new house to change-especially when she spies a next-door neighbor who looks like he'd make a perfect new...

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Overview

After Bella says good-bye to her old house, it's time to meet her new one. But this house isn't anything like Bella expected. The entranceway has ten steps instead of three, the bathtub has feet, and worst of all, it does not feel like home. But Bella knows how to be brave, and with her imaginary best friend Stella by her side, it doesn't take long for her feelings about her new house to change-especially when she spies a next-door neighbor who looks like he'd make a perfect new friend.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this clever and reassuring offering from the husband-and-wife creators of Pigs Love Potatoes, Bella finds solace in her stuffed elephant, Stella--and in her expansive imagination--on moving day. "Stella says she will miss our house. I hug her and say, ‘It will be okay,' " says Bella. Vibrant digital and pencil art soon reveals a transformation as Stella springs to life as an enormous yellow elephant. Faces share skepticism and apprehension as Bella transfers her emotions to Stella. The new kitchen is yellow ("Stella thinks kitchens should be blue. I do too"), and the two continue to concur that old beats new: the garden should have an oak tree, and their bedroom should have polka-dot curtains and stars on the ceiling. The arrival of Bella's possessions helps ease the transition, as does meeting a neighbor who also has an oversize animal companion. The fact that Bella comes to terms with the move on her own (her parents are always offstage) adds to the appeal of this story, whose subtle narrative is neatly balanced by larger-than-life graphics. Ages 3–8. (Nov.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
We experience with young Bella the emotional stress of moving. Bella tries to reassure her stuffed elephant Stella along with herself as she encounters the new "home" that does not feel like home to her. As she examines the new, different kitchen, yard, bathroom, and upstairs with Bella, Stella has grown larger in the illustrations, until she is almost elephant size, perhaps big enough to help Bella feel less apprehensive. By the time Bella has unpacked her tea set, the movers have moved her familiar furniture into her new bedroom, and she feels better. But that night, everything is too different. So to make Stella feel better, she says, she turns on all the lights. By the next day, however, when she meets the neighbors, we assume that both of them will be all right. Using pencils and photo editing software and computer graphics programs, Denise creates a remarkably naturalistic expressive youngster and her elephant. Facial expressions and body poses and gestures require no text to move the story. We somehow accept Stella's changing size; or is she meant to be a metaphor for Bella's psychological state? This could help any child through a move. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Bella, an endearing girl with a big imagination and lots of personality, is nervous about moving to a new home. Fortunately, her trusted stuffed elephant, Stella, who looms large and lifelike in the child's mind, remains at her side through the upcoming uncertainties. Everything at the new house is different. The kitchen is painted yellow and the bathtub has feet. Her mother says that the house has character, but Bella is not impressed with the empty, dusty rooms. The doubtful Bella and Stella venture upstairs to find their bedroom, which is empty except for one box in the middle of the floor. Once all of her belongings are moved in, Bella begins to relax, but at night her fears return and she has to sleep with the lights on. In the morning, the neighbors pop in for a visit and Bella makes a new friend, a bespectacled boy with a stuffed giraffe. At last, the new house begins to feel like home. The sweet narrative, told from Bella's point of view, perfectly captures the little girl's psyche. The story is enhanced by luminous, almost photographic illustrations drawn in shades of pink, ivory, and gold. With her expressive features and mop of dark curls, Bella stands out on each page. This delightful story would pair well with Scott Beck's Little House, Little Town (Abrams, 2004).—Linda L. Walkins, Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Brighton, MA
Kirkus Reviews

When Bella moves to a new home, she finds it greatly comforting to have her best friend Stella always at her side. Everything is so different. There are ten steps to the front door instead of three, the kitchen is yellow instead of blue and the bathtub has feet. Bella and Stella take turns encouraging and reassuring each other as they explore their new home. Even when her room is set up with her familiar things, it takes all the lights on, a new morning and a new neighbor with his own best friend to make her feel as if she's home. Anika Denise conveys tender understanding as Bella speaks directly to the reader, expressing her apprehension and confusion in appropriately childlike terms. Christopher Denise's glowing, softly colored pencil-and-digital illustrations add further dimension as readers see that Stella is Bella's beloved yellow stuffed elephant, who morphs into an imaginarylife-sized companion and supporter. Text and illustrations are interdependent and seamless, a splendid marriage of words and pictures. Cozy and comfortable. (Picture book. 3-8)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399242434
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/24/2010
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 390,798
  • Age range: 3 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 10.30 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Christopher Denise lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

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