Stella's Dancing Days

Overview

A tender family story that will dance into your heart.
Stella is a kitten who loves to dance. But as she grows up, Stella dances less and less. Has she lost her passion for pirouettes and pliés? Or is she just busy with other things, like stalking bugs, soaking up the sunshine—and finding a quiet place to have her kittens?
With warmth and charm that recalls the best-loved ...

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Overview

A tender family story that will dance into your heart.
Stella is a kitten who loves to dance. But as she grows up, Stella dances less and less. Has she lost her passion for pirouettes and pliés? Or is she just busy with other things, like stalking bugs, soaking up the sunshine—and finding a quiet place to have her kittens?
With warmth and charm that recalls the best-loved classics of children's literature, Stella's story of growing up is perfect for families to share.

A charming kitten named Stella dances for the family who owns her, but as Stella grows up, she dances less and less, and everyone misses her dancing days--until she has six kittens of her own who all love to dance.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As a kitten, Stella revels in performing grands jet s, pirouettes and arabesques for her family, which includes Tall One (a boy who favors cowboy hats), Gentle One (his younger sister), Littlest One (their baby brother) and Fuzzy One with Floppy Ears (the family dog). "When the Littlest One with the Loudest Voice would not stop crying," writes Asher (But That's Another Story), adopting the kitten's point of view, "Stella and her tinkly ball waltzed from room to room until, at last, the Littlest One laughed." But as Stella grows up, other pursuits take precedence: "She discovered bugs in the garden that needed stalking, patches of sunlight just her size, and windowsills where she could sit and watch the world go by." More time passes, and Stella gives birth to her own litter of "three girls and three boys. And they all loved to dance." Brown's (Tough Boris) delicate watercolors and pen-and-inks incorporate a soup on of visual humor to keep the pictures from being too precious: when Stella hides under the bed to give birth, Littlest One hangs upside down over the edge to watch. Although the text grants Stella some human qualities, Brown's artwork keeps the heroine's behavior strictly feline, and the volume benefits from the artist's choice. Her illustrations possess a timeless quality, with tea parties under a glorious tree, a grandfather clock and a clapboard house with a wide veranda. A charmer. Ages 3-7. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Stella is a delightful kitten whose dancing brings pleasure to the children in her home—"Tall One," "Gentle One," "Littlest One," and even to the dog. But kittens, like children, grow up and change. The cycle of life is satisfyingly concluded when the rest of the family happily greets the "New Ones," six kittens who all love to dance. The simple, comforting story is made even more appealing by Brown's gentle, impressionistic watercolor and pen and ink drawings. On the jacket/cover Stella dances with a balloon under a tree while the children have a tea party; it introduce a world with flowers blooming, lots of cuddling and sets the stage for the grand finale of six new dancers. 2001, Harcourt, $16.00. Ages 3 to 7. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-A small gray kitten who loves to dance goes to live with three children, known here as the Tall One (the oldest brother), the Gentle One (the middle sister), and the Littlest One with the Loudest Voice (the baby brother). Stella charms the entire family (including the Fuzzy One with Floppy Ears who barked in her face) with her grands jet s, pirouettes, tumbles, flips, and arabesques. As she matures, she notices the world around her and has less time for dancing. While the children miss her dancing days, Stella does not, for she is busy preparing for her own litter: "three girls and three boys. And they all loved to dance." Asher's quiet text has a natural, graceful rhythm, and Brown's watercolor illustrations capture the homey timelessness of afternoons spent drinking lemonade under ancient oaks and of long summer nights that are full of promise and mystery. The artist carefully depicts the gradual growth of Stella and the children, coming full circle on the final page, a joyous illustration of the feline's dancing offspring. With its quiet poetic quality and soft, appealing illustrations, this title will please cat lovers and ballerinas of all ages and is ideal for sharing with small groups.- Shawn Brommer, South Central Library System, Madison, WI Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A child's book that looks back with nostalgia on lost youth. Stella is a kitten who loves to dance, charming in turn the Tall One, the Gentle One, the Littlest One with the Loudest Voice, and the Fuzzy One with Floppy Ears with her pirouettes and arabesques. But she grows up, as everyone does, and leaves her dancing days behind for other things: stalking bugs, sitting in windows-and bearing a litter of dancing kittens. Asher (With All My Heart, With All My Mind, not reviewed, etc.) has crafted a simple story with a clever cat's-voice perspective. But while Stella's maturation parallels the children's to a certain extent (" 'Stella is a big cat now,' said the Littlest One, 'and I am a big boy!' "), the older children's wistful yearning for Stella's kittenish antics smacks more of an adult's sensibility than a child's. Brown's (Old Thunder and Miss Raney, 2000, etc.) wispy, washed-out ink-and-watercolor illustrations are just a little too cute, sometimes anthropomorphizing Stella (what cat would submit gracefully to being dressed in a doll's blouse and skirt?) and sometimes opting for a more realistic representation. It is, nevertheless, a sweet story that may give children some way to relate to their elders' sighs of regret that they, too, are growing up. (Picture book. 3-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152016135
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 3/1/1901
  • Edition description: ILLUSTRATE
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 10.50 (h) x -11.00 (d)

Meet the Author

SANDY ASHER has written many plays and novels. Stella's Dancing Days is her first picture book for Harcourt. Ms. Asher is writer-in-residence at Drury University in Springfield, Missouri, where she lives with her husband.

KATHRYN BROWN is the illustrator of many books for children, including Tough Boris by Mem Fox. She lives with her family in western Massachusetts.

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