cover image Stella, Star of the Sea

Stella, Star of the Sea

Marie-Louise Gay. Groundwood Books, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-88899-337-3

Gay (Rumpelstiltskin) describes an indefatigably curious boy's first day at the beach with his indefatigably imaginative older sister. In answer to Sam's endless questions, Stella informs him that starfish were once shooting stars ""who fell in love with the sea""; that a round shell is a shark eyeball; and that sea horses can be ridden bareback (the illustrations support this last claim). Enjoying the sea, Stella puts an end to Sam's questions with one of her own: ""Sam! Are you ever coming in?"" The cartoon figures, with childishly outsize heads and pear-shaped bodies, inhabit a deceptively harmonious mixed-media landscape. The diverse elements--the watercolor sea, the flecked-paper beach, the diffused sky--come together to suggest an air of holiday abandon. This nonchalant slice-of-life tale with its sunny, eccentric illustrations makes for an enjoyable trip to the seashore. Ages 2-4. (Mar.)