________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 2. . . .September 13, 2013


Read Me a Story, Stella. (Stella and Sam Book).

Marie-Louise Gay.
Toronto, ON: Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press, 2013.
32 pp., hardcover, $16.95.
ISBN 978-1-55498-216-5.

Preschool-kindergarten / Ages 2-5.

Review by Karyn Miehl.

**** /4



Read Me A Story, Stella was my first introduction to the world of Stella and her little brother, Sam. Before reading it alone, I read it with my five-year-old whose only comment was, "I liked the whole thing."

internal art     In this book, Stella shares her love of reading with Sam (and his dog Fred), who enjoys her stories as well. Sam looks to his big sister to answer his questions and quell his anxieties (such as there being crocodiles or rhinoceroses in the nearby pond). Stella, in typical big-sister fashion, has an answer for everything ("The pond is way too tiny . . . Crocodiles and rhinoceroses need a lot of water to swim in.").

     Stella also demonstrates that her love of reading extends beyond works of fiction. She offers to show Sam "a picture of a caterpillar in my insect book", and she reads a poem to the hungry rabbits while they wait for the carrots that Sam planted that morning to grow. Stella also shows imagination when she reads upside down because, as she says, "I'm reading a story about a bat . . . I just wanted to feel like one." At the end of the book, when Sam can't sleep, Stella makes up a story about "a little boy named Sam . . . and his best friend was a small brown dog . . ."

     Stella shows Sam, and the reader, that she truly loves to read. Readers of this book clearly see Stella's attachment to her books (she hauls them around in a wagon and is seen with one on almost every page) and how reading sparks her own creativity and imagination, even in answering her brother's questions. Young readers will delight in the colourful pages and question-and-answer dialogue between these two siblings.

      As a parent, I find it interesting to see the two kids amusing themselves and finding many learning-through-play things to do without having a (visible) parent or other adult supervision around.

     The water-colour, pencil, pastel and collage illustrations are colourful and cute, with many interesting details to capture the young reader's eye.

Highly Recommended.

Karyn Miehl, a mother of two and a secondary school English teacher, lives in Kingsville, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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