cover image Sela Blue and the First Day of School

Sela Blue and the First Day of School

Alisia Dale, illus. by Sheree Evelina. Huckleberry Sweet Pie, $24.99 (68p) ISBN 978-1-942537-01-4

In the first book in a planned series, Dale and Evelina introduce Sela Blue, an optimistic and inquisitive brown-skinned girl who lives in the fictional town of Chateauguay, where the streets are named after famous composers. Sela is looking forward to attending school for the first time, but she has many questions about it, so she bends the ear of everyone she meets in town, including a gardener, inventor, and bank teller (“She asked Mrs. Karela,/ As she counted fives and tens,/ ‘Do you think this cash will cover/ All my paper, books, and pens?’ ”). Evelina’s illustrations are charmers, mixing pencil detailing with delicate washes of color to create scenes with a dainty wholesomeness reminiscent of Precious Moments figurines (with a fondness for frilly dresses and hair bows, Sela changes outfits with nearly every page turn). Dale’s story offers little dramatic tension—after a night of frightening dreams, Sela fears she has missed the bus, a worry that’s quickly set straight—but children looking forward to school with eagerness rather than trepidation should find it easy to relate to this cheerful heroine. Ages 4–up. (BookLife)