Bess and Bella

Overview

On a cold winter afternoon Bess and her doll are having a tea party with melted snow and cookie crumbs, when — falump! — a little bird named Bella falls from the sky. Bella offers treats for a proper tea, and a new friendship begins. Little does Bess know that this is just the first of many delightful surprises to come during that afternoon.

Young readers will be charmed by Bess and Bella and enchanted by Irene Haas's beautiful artwork that ...

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Overview

On a cold winter afternoon Bess and her doll are having a tea party with melted snow and cookie crumbs, when — falump! — a little bird named Bella falls from the sky. Bella offers treats for a proper tea, and a new friendship begins. Little does Bess know that this is just the first of many delightful surprises to come during that afternoon.

Young readers will be charmed by Bess and Bella and enchanted by Irene Haas's beautiful artwork that brings them vividly to life.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Haas does for winter in this cozy tale what she did for the year's longest days in A Summertime Song. The dream-like narrative begins with the appearance of a bird, smartly dressed in a striped frock, shawl and straw hat, who drops from the sky as lonely rosie-cheeked Bess and her doll have a tea party in the snow. The winged visitor introduces herself as Bella, and Bess invites her to share her rather meager "tea," consisting of cookie crumbs and melted snow served in a little cracked cup. Bella (who migrated too late, and frost on her wings caused her to fall) pulls out a host of tiny suitcases from which she extracts "babushkas for tablecloths, a teapot of tea, a beautiful bowl of just-baked buttery biscuits." The bright cloths and china patterns transform the small framed paintings from wintry grays and greens to a spread fit for a fiesta, and the tale's tone, too, becomes boisterous with the arrival of a truck carrying canine firefighters and, later, a mouse family. Haas suffuses both prose and pictures with a fairy-tale enchantment, as if the woods exude a wintry spell. The festivities end when Bess is called for supper, but Bella stays with Bess ("until one day it was spring, when birds return to their nests"), and when the bird flies home, a girl appears, asking Bess to play, assuring readers that the heroine will be lonely no more. In this charming tale, Haas hints at the magic in everyday moments. Ages 3-7. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
This charming picture book takes the concept of friendship and provides an uplifting story about where friends can come from and how they enhance our lives. In this particular story, Bess, talking to her doll Rose, wishes for a friend with whom to share her day. Hoping that a tea party of cookie crumbs and melted water (for tea) will brighten her mood, Bess finds her tea party invaded by a magical bird named Bella who offers Bess babushkas and biscuits and, most importantly, her friendship. Eventually, Bella and Bess are joined by firefighting dogs and a family of mice. At the end of the tea party, Bella goes home with Bess and Rose and helps Bess through what would otherwise be a long and lonely winter. Then spring arrives, and as Bella prepares to leave, Bess sees a new girl to the neighborhood. The illustrations are exceptionally sweet, and little girls will love the detail and the soft pastel colors. A very accessible book for young readers. 2006, Margaret McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster, Ages 5 to 8.
—Jean Boreen, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-To add some cheer to a lonesome winter afternoon, Bess and her doll have a "party with cookie crumbs and melted snow tea." Suddenly, a bird named Bella lands ("FALUMP") on the ground. When invited to tea, Bella opens one of her tiny suitcases and with great aplomb produces "babushkas for tablecloths" and tasty treats. More fantastical guests arrive, including five firefighting dogs that turn flames into flowers and a mouse family. Eventually, the child is called home and she wraps the bird in a woolly mitten and takes her along. When spring arrives, Bess stands at her window as Bella flies away, and she hears the promise of a new friendship in a child calling up, "Hi! Do you want to play?" Haas's pastel-and-watercolor illustrations on cream-colored paper have a vintage appeal and capture the dreamlike quality of the text. The paintings are expertly composed, balancing bright colors and motion against quiet gray backgrounds, and the detailed scenes will encourage repeated viewing. Children will relate to Bess's feelings of loneliness and enjoy her sense of wonder.-Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ontario, Canada Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Bess is playing outside with her doll when out of the snowy sky falls Bella, a little bird with a lot of suitcases. So begins a whimsical tale full of warmth and imagination. Bella's many suitcases hold tea things (she explains that she got started flying south late, because of packing, but she flew anyhow "until frost on my wings made me fall FALUMP from the sky"). Then a bunch of doggy firefighters come by to put out a fire and Bess invites them to tea. After they rescue a mouse baby and Bella's Mary Poppins-like valise supplies the makings of marmalade mousse for mice, it begins to snow and Bess is called in for supper. Bella lives in Bess's room all winter and in spring, when she returns to her nest, a very interesting child appears outside Bess's window and asks if she wants to come out to play. Sweetly soft watercolor and pastel images-a full page facing text, a small ornament as header or footer-cheerfully delineate bird, doll, dogs, mice, plaids and patterns, florals and tea things. (Picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416900139
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
  • Publication date: 1/28/2006
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Irene Haas is an outstanding artist who has written and illustrated a number of children's books, including The Maggie B., Little Moon Theater, and A Summertime Song, which Horn Book called "a sumptuous production." Ms. Haas lives in New York City.

Irene Haas is an outstanding artist who has written and illustrated a number of children's books, including The Maggie B., Little Moon Theater, and A Summertime Song, which Horn Book called "a sumptuous production." Ms. Haas lives in New York City.

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