Stella, Princess of the Sky

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Gay, M. (2004). Stella, Princess of the Sky. Toronto: Groundwood Books.

With a multitude of themes to investigate, this book starts with a conversation. Younger brother Sam pelts his older and wiser sister about the sunset, how the sky changes over the course of the day, and where the sun sleeps. The two stay out that night, camping under the stars. They observe the sky above and the animals around them. It evolves into more than just a book about basic backyard astronomy, as nocturnal animals and other nighttime occurrences are woven into the plot.

The illustrations capture the changing colors of the night: pastel oranges and pinks at sunset, deepening purples to blues as it gets later, and incandescent whites for the stars. A joyful energy abounds and pulls the eye from left to right. The composition is set up so the viewer lingers and thus tension is built up before the page is turned. Cohesion is accomplished by the whimsical curly cues throughout: tree tops, snails, kite strings, spiral designs on blankets, and always Stella’s curls.

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