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Bella and Stella Come Home Hardcover – November 24, 2010
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From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2–Bella, an endearing girl with a big imagination and lots of personality, is nervous about moving to a new home. Fortunately, her trusted stuffed elephant, Stella, who looms large and lifelike in the child's mind, remains at her side through the upcoming uncertainties. Everything at the new house is different. The kitchen is painted yellow and the bathtub has feet. Her mother says that the house has character, but Bella is not impressed with the empty, dusty rooms. The doubtful Bella and Stella venture upstairs to find their bedroom, which is empty except for one box in the middle of the floor. Once all of her belongings are moved in, Bella begins to relax, but at night her fears return and she has to sleep with the lights on. In the morning, the neighbors pop in for a visit and Bella makes a new friend, a bespectacled boy with a stuffed giraffe. At last, the new house begins to feel like home. The sweet narrative, told from Bella's point of view, perfectly captures the little girl's psyche. The story is enhanced by luminous, almost photographic illustrations drawn in shades of pink, ivory, and gold. With her expressive features and mop of dark curls, Bella stands out on each page. This delightful story would pair well with Scott Beck's Little House, Little Town (Abrams, 2004).–Linda L. Walkins, Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Brighton, MA. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Bella, a young girl, explores her new home with her stuffed toy elephant Stella. There is much to absorb with so many differences between the old house and the new: 3 front steps versus 10, a yellow kitchen in place of a blue one, a bathtub with feet, and so on. Both Bella and Stella provide and receive reassurance from one another, and after spending the night at their new home, unpacking some items, and visiting with new neighbors, the two best friends settle in. Softly colored pencil and computer-generated illustrations show the sweet and charming pair in pleasingly lush surroundings. Humorous touches abound, such as Bella’s elephant-ear-like hairdo and Stella’s habit of transforming from a stuffed toy to an oversize (although still not quite full-sized) companion at strategic moments. This has a place with the many good picture books dealing with moving; see Rosa’s Room, by Barbara Bottner (2004), and I Like Where I Am, by Jessica Harper (2004). Preschool-Grade 1. --Randall Enos
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We still haven't moved to our new home, but when we do, I will definitely try to use this book to explain things for my son, by relating our experience to Bella and Stella's experience (e.g. talk about how the yard and bath were different), what they did to feel more comfortable (when they were scared at night they asked for more nigh lights) and how it worked out when they made new good friends.
The illustrations are what really make this book special. They are done in rich tones of pink, yellow, and purple, and convey the emotions felt by Bella quite well. They also have a touch of whimsy. The elephant becomes quite an adorable character through Bella's imagination and the illustrator's artistry.
Bella and Stella Come Home is a charming story to share with children, ages three to seven, who are moving to a new home.
The illustrations are just delightful. Bella and Stella are both very expressive, and the pictures of this tiny girl creeping down the hall with a yellow elephant are just priceless. I especially liked that they were not washed out, but rather were rich in tones and colors that seemed to give them added dimension. The illustrator effectively portrays humor, skepticism, fear, and anxiety in a way that every small child can relate to. This is now my favorite book on moving and I look forward to recommending it often to our library patrons. An enthusiastic recommend.
(Although I received a free copy of this book from the author, the opinions in this review are true and are my own.)