cover image Bella and Stella Come Home

Bella and Stella Come Home

Anika Denise, illus. by Christopher Denise, Philomel, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-399-24243-4

In this clever and reassuring offering from the husband-and-wife creators of Pigs Love Potatoes, Bella finds solace in her stuffed elephant, Stella—and in her expansive imagination—on moving day. "Stella says she will miss our house. I hug her and say, ‘It will be okay,' " says Bella. Vibrant digital and pencil art soon reveals a transformation as Stella springs to life as an enormous yellow elephant. Faces share skepticism and apprehension as Bella transfers her emotions to Stella. The new kitchen is yellow ("Stella thinks kitchens should be blue. I do too"), and the two continue to concur that old beats new: the garden should have an oak tree, and their bedroom should have polka-dot curtains and stars on the ceiling. The arrival of Bella's possessions helps ease the transition, as does meeting a neighbor who also has an oversize animal companion. The fact that Bella comes to terms with the move on her own (her parents are always offstage) adds to the appeal of this story, whose subtle narrative is neatly balanced by larger-than-life graphics. Ages 3–8. (Nov.)