cover image Stella Keeps the Sun Up

Stella Keeps the Sun Up

Clothilde Ewing, illus. by Lynn Gaines. S&S/Millner, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-5344-8785-7

In an inventive ploy to avoid another “boring” night sleeping, a child named Stella and her blue stuffed hippo, Roger, endeavor to keep the sun up. Donning “supersize sunglasses” and “plenty of sunscreen,” the Black protagonist tries multiple tactics on the day star, including confusion (doing extra-long morning yoga so the sun doesn’t know the time, eating cereal midday) and stimulation (banging on a drum, shining flashlights, attempting to deliver coffee), all while the sun looks on in Gaines’s airbrush-style digital scenes. As the day closes, the young narrator despairs until realizing that if the sun doesn’t set, then Stella’s long-distance best friend, portrayed with pale skin and black hair, won’t be able to rise on the other side of the world—an epiphany that provides a well-timed reason to embrace nighttime rituals, and adult readers with a fresh reason for arguing in favor of a good night’s rest. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)