Stella and the Berry Thief

Stella and the Berry Thief

by Jane B. Mason, Loek Koopmans

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Stella lives in Wisconsin and is obsessed with raspberries. She picks them all July, making them into prize-winning pies and preserves. Stella herself is not as sweet as the berries; she never shares with neighbors. How the presence one summer of a berry-stealing black bear (later named Bernie) transforms the indignant Stella into a sweeter, more generous cook makes an amusing tale replete with all the berries, pies, and raspberry jam anyone could possibly eat. Award-winning Dutch artist Koopmans has contributed watercolors in many ways delightful, equally expressive of human and bear emotions, but some anomalies exist. Since the story is specifically set in Wisconsin, one might wish the illustrator had established a sense of place with a more typically rugged forest and river landscape rather than a tamer one so softly suffused with yellow light. Raspberry bushes lack their wicked brambles; a "bucket" named in the text is pictured as a large basket. Although western black bears can be other shades (Bernie is a light honey-brown), in the northeastern states like Wisconsin they are most often black and always have short, tightly curled claws. Still, the story is entertaining, especially Stella's efforts to apprehend the berry thief and their surprising eventual rapport. Her transformation into a smiling neighbor, signaled by her floating dress and a straw hat trimmed with berries, makes for a satisfying conclusion. Don't overlook the frontispiece and the back cover for a glimpse of Stella and Bernie sharing a luscious raspberry picnic. 2004, Marshall Cavendish, Ages 4 to 8.
—Barbara L. Talcroft
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-Stella loves being secluded at the edge of a winding river, right in the center of her six-foot-tall bushes, where she grows the sweetest, juiciest raspberries in Wisconsin. Although her pies and preserves win the blue ribbon every year at the state fair, she never shares her raspberries or anything she makes from them with her neighbors. The woman hoards her confections so that she will have enough to last all year long, to start each day with a slice of homemade bread and jam. Then one summer, "Some varmint-" who loves raspberries just as much as she does cleans her out before she can pick them. After a couple of seasons of fighting an amusing, but losing battle with a black bear, salvaging only half of her usual hoard of preserves and then almost none at all, Stella learns to share. Koopmans's watercolor illustrations beautifully capture the country setting and the seasons at both the beginning and end of the story, but about midway the artwork gets a little weak and nondescript, especially in the depiction of the berry snatcher. However, kids will quickly identify with Stella and the bear, and chuckle at her inventive schemes to keep the animal out of her raspberry patch.-Wanda Meyers-Hines, Ridgecrest Elementary School, Huntsville, AL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Cavendish Square Publishing
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.20(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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