Stellarella! It’s Saturday!

Deborah W. Dykes, illus. by Christina Mattison Ebert-Klaven. Maine Authors Publishing (www.maineauthorspublishing.com), $15.95 paper (24p) ISBN 978-1-938883-29-3
An exuberant first-person voice begins this story, first in a planned series, with a burst of energy that maintains momentum: “It’s Saturday! Tank! Wake Up!” Conversing with her dog in a stream-of-thought narrative, Stellarella, a redhead in purple dress with feathered headband, pronounces her plans for market day, which include visits to an ethnically diverse group of women: Ms. Sadie sells jelly; Ms. Leanna, tomatoes; Ms. Maria, zucchini. Ebert-Klaven’s illustrations of home and market offer geometric stripes, checks, and polka-dots, while black squiggles outline characters’ hair, background hills, bushes, and clouds. The paintings, which depict scenes from a variety of angles, brim with energy and motion; one shows Stellarella holding a cornucopia of vegetables, a rainbow behind her, and saying: “Tank, did you know God makes strawberries? She grows them from seeds she plants in the dirt... she’s as busy as Mama!” With subtlety, Dykes demonstrates how Stellarella’s exposure to strong, resilient women helps shape her character, making this story both entertaining and substantive. All ages. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/17/2013
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