Read Me a Story, Stella
written by Marie-Louise Gay
2013 (House of Anansi)
Source: Orange County Public Library
Stella and her little brother Sam are quite busy one afternoon. Stella is picking apples and Sam is working on building a doghouse for their dog Fred. As Sam is putting boards and branches together, Stella reads from Stone Soup. Sam asks if she has a book on building doghouses. She doesn't, but instead offers to help build one that will withstand a wolf's breath. After all that labor, the duo head to Lily Pond for a picnic. As Sam looks for frogs in the pond, he asks Stella if there are any frogs in her book. She mentions a toad wearing a velvet jacket. Later on, Sam finds a caterpillar. Using her insect book, Stella tells Sam about how caterpillars turn into butterflies. During this day, there are several adventures for Stella and Sam that intertwine nicely with the books that she is reading. At dusk, Stella hangs upside down from a branch while reading a story about a bat. Sam asks if they read upside down. Stella responds that bats will read in many directions because they "just love to read." "Like you" Sam answers back.
Those two words kind of sum up this enchanting story. Stella is a devoted reader and her books inspire adventures, answer questions, provide hope, and do so many other things. I sent this book to a kindergarten class. I wasn't sure if they would get the literary references, but their teacher reported back that indeed they knew some of them. What surprised her was the depth of the responses from her students. They talked about how reading can take you places and about how Stella was a good role model for her brother. Read Me a Story, Stella celebrates the joy of getting lost in a book and how many things are better than that?