cover image Stella’s Starliner

Stella’s Starliner

Rosemary Wells. Candlewick, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-1495-9

In a series of silver-framed vignettes, a little fox lives contentedly with her family in Airstream-style trailer, a small but ingenious living space with “a kitchen and a radio and a sofa that turned into a bed.” Stella’s sense of security evaporates when a gang of weasels mocks the Starliner (“It’s an old trailer is what it is!” “You must be poor!”). But when Stella’s Daddy hitches the trailer to his pickup truck and moves the family to a place where there are palm trees and shimmering water, Stella makes new friends who think her life in the Starliner is worthy of “A squillionaire!” Curiously, Wells never clarifies the reason behind the relocation, and so a story that draws so much power from its sense of emotional truth concludes with an ending that seems almost too magical. But that’s a small caveat; as income inequality takes it toll on more and more children, this story and its heroine are an important reminder of just how resilient families can—and must—be. Ages 4–8. Agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Mar.)