When Stella Was Very, Very Small

( 3 )

Overview


When Stella was small she thought she was a turtle, that trees could talk, and that words were like ants running off the pages of her books. She couldn’t tie her shoes, but she could survive a wild sandstorm. Marie-Louise Gay has gone back in time to answer the questions often asked by the children who read and love her Stella books. Although she didn’t know what she would find when she started to explore Stella’s childhood, she soon realized that when Stella was very small, she saw the world in her own unique ...
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Overview


When Stella was small she thought she was a turtle, that trees could talk, and that words were like ants running off the pages of her books. She couldn’t tie her shoes, but she could survive a wild sandstorm. Marie-Louise Gay has gone back in time to answer the questions often asked by the children who read and love her Stella books. Although she didn’t know what she would find when she started to explore Stella’s childhood, she soon realized that when Stella was very small, she saw the world in her own unique way — with wonder, curiosity and the sense that everything is possible. And when Sam came along, what could be more natural than to try to pass this sense of wonder on to him? A story of a lovely, tiny Stella, whose world is full of small adventures and slivers of magic.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

The ever-inquisitive, carrot-top heroine returns, this time with a peek at her early days: "When Stella was very, very small, words looked like ants running off the pages. Butterflies flew on the walls, and cups jumped off the tables, just like that!" reads Gay's text as Stella sits before a pile of books, crayon-scribbled butterflies gracing the walls. Stella's surroundings, which initially have an epic scale for her, become more manageable (though no less magic) as she ages. And "now that Stella is big" and "the ants in her book have become words," she can read to her little brother. Stella's dynamic world and big sister charisma will pay off for fans of the gentle series. Ages 2-5. (Aug.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Carrie Hane Hung
Stella reminisces about the days when she was very, very young and small. When she was a baby, she thought that she was a turtle and a goldfish. Stella recalls some of the things that she could and could not do. Her memories glide across how she could not tie her shoelaces although she could hear the stories told by the trees. Stella could not open the doors but she found wondrous adventures in her imaginary world in the setting of her backyard. Readers are drawn into Stella's perspective of being small. The illustrations capture the moments and prepare for the turning point where we find Stella is a little older but able to do much more on her own. For instance, words on a page no longer look like crawling ants. She continues to explore her world yet at a new level. The readers are introduced to Sam, her little brother, with whom she shares her love of exploration. This book is one of the creative adventures of Stella. Reviewer: Carrie Hane Hung
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—This new offering in Gay's delightful series about inquisitive and imaginative Stella explores her vantage points from each developmental stage to date. As a crawler, she's eye to eye with a turtle. While her curly orange locks distinguish her from the reptile, the green attire and prone position suggest a mirror image. A goldfish and dog phase follow. Gay's sensitivity to the rich inner life of childhood flows into her art and language. As a toddler, Stella ascends to the top of the sofa, surveying "the whole world." A seven-rung ladder propped against the cushions suggests her perception of the adventure. When she is a preschooler, the words in her book "looked like ants running off the pages," and that's just how they appear. Gay's mixed-media scenes dance with the energy of scribbled butterflies on the walls, teetering objects, and a blanket-turned-turban that flaps as Stella braves the desert storm in the sandbox. When she becomes bigger, the turtle struggles to keep up with her brisk pace. Her yard is no longer a force with which to be reckoned, but rather an orderly place where she pursues entomology. As for her literacy skills, "the ants in her books have become words, and the words have become stories." Stella is pictured reading to little Sam (who's now wearing the green outfit). Subtle and sweet, yet full of life and humor, the child's world is a place kids will want to visit again and again.—Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
Stella has always been a fountain of creative knowledge, offering her little brother Sam the benefits of her vivid imagination. In previous works they have had adventures by the seashore, in the forest and in the snow. Now Gay offers her readers some insight into the younger Stella, before Sam. Was she always so inquisitive and full of startling ideas? The answer is emphatically, "Yes!" The huge world represented by her house and yard translates into jungles and oceans filled with all kinds of wildlife. Not yet having unlocked the mysteries of the "ants running off the pages" of her books, she listens to the trees telling stories in the nighttime. Now that she is big, she can do so much more-and pass along all of it to Sam. The charming illustrations, rendered in watercolor, pastel and collage, depict red-headed Stella's antics in great detail and from a variety of perspectives. Young readers will wish they could be just like Stella, or at least have a big sister like her. Stella is both wonderful and full of wonder-purely glorious. (Picture book. 3-7)
From the Publisher

• Long-listed for the OLA Blue Spruce Award, 2010

• Short-listed for the QWF Award for Children's Literature, 2009

• "The charming illustrations, rendered in watercolour, pastel and collage, depict red-headed Stella's antics in great detail and from a variety of perspectives. Young readers will wish they could be just like Stella, or at least have a big sister like her. Stella is both wonderful and full of wonder - purely glorious." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

• "[A] delightful series...Gay's mixed-media scenes dance...Subtle and sweet, yet full of life and humor, [Stella's] world is a place kids will want to visit again and again." —School Library Journal, starred review

• "[Children] will be delighted to hear Stella's reminiscences and will identify with her joy in sharing her big sisterly 'knowledge' with Sam." — CM Magazine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780888999061
  • Publisher: Groundwood Books
  • Publication date: 7/14/2009
  • Series: Stella Series
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 508,285
  • Age range: 2 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Marie-Louise Gay is a world-renowned author and illustrator of children's books. She has won many prestigious awards, including the Governor General's Award, the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award, the Vicky Metcalf Award and the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award. She has also been nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award and the Hans Christian Andersen Award. Her books have been translated into more than fifteen languages and are loved by children all over the world.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 20, 2011

    nostalgic read

    a tender, fascinating look at how the world, or more accurately, our perspective on it, changes as we grow. simple text, lovely illustrations. a winner! my early childhood age children all love it even though the message is hidden from them at first. but with multiple rereadings they are starting to get it.

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  • Posted September 5, 2009

    A nice read.

    Great book to stir the imagination.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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