||A Review of: Stella, Princess of the Sky
by Olga Stein
Stella, still a little girl herself, never loses patience with her
younger brother Sam, even though he questions her relentlessly about
the sun, moon, and everything he encounters around him. Stella, of
Marie-Louise Gay's Stella, Princess of the Sky (also nominated for
the 2004 Governor General's Award for Children's book illustration),
is unfailingly imaginative in the answers she supplies. She's also
clever at dispelling her brother's fears of wild animals and the
dark, and at turning his imagination to more pleasant thoughts.
While preparing to spend the night camping in their backyard, Stella
announces that she has found a perfect spot for watching the moon
come over the lake. This starts Sam off on a new round of questions:
"Does the moon live in the lake" asked Sam." Does
"No, it lives in the sky," answered Stella, "with
"Can the moon fly, then? Does it have wings?"
"The moon floats in the air," said Stella, "like a
"Who's holding the string?" asked Sam.
But even Stella cannot find answers to Sam's every query. Instead,
she waits for Sam to be distracted by the sounds of an owl. The
book goes on largely in this vein. There is no story, but it does
capture some essential quality about early childhood, when everything
still seems new, inexplicable, suffused with magic. Marie-Louise
Gay's water colour illustrations are accomplished, visually soothing,
and convey the endearing ethereality of small children.