Review: Stella Brings the Family by Miriam B. Schiffer, illus. Holly Clifton-Brown
Source: Hardcopy courtesy of Raincoast Books. Thank you!
Publication: May 5, 2015 by Chronicle Books
Stella’s class is having a Mother’s Day celebration, but what’s a girl with two daddies to do? It’s not that she doesn’t have someone who helps her with her homework, or tucks her in at night. Stella has her Papa and Daddy who take care of her, and a whole gaggle of other loved ones who make her feel special and supported every day. She just doesn’t have a mom to invite to the party. Fortunately, Stella finds a unique solution to her party problem in this sweet story about love, acceptance, and the true meaning of family.
A lovely title to add to the growing roster of picture book titles about all kinds of families, Stella Brings the Family is a warm and reassuring read. When Stella’s teacher makes an announcement about a class party for Mother’s Day, Stella feels anxious. Who can she bring to the party? She has her Papa and Daddy, as well as her Nonna, aunt, uncle and cousin…but no mom to bring for the celebration. When sitting down with her classmates during lunch one day, Stella opens up and talks to her classmates about her worries. They ask her all kinds of curious and genuine questions about who reads to her, who packs her lunch, who kisses her when she gets hurts…When Stella’s friend Jonathan comes up with an idea for who Stella should bring, Stella realizes just how awesome and rich her family is.
Clifton-Brown’s illustrations here in the story are beautifully detailed- bright and charming; Schiffer’s text is right on the mark here, complete but not overwhelming, providing just enough information to give to readers of the story. A sweet exploration of family, a loving look at diverse families, a read perfect for Mother’s Day or just when you want to curl up and read something positive about what family means, Stella Brings the Family is definitely worth a look.
Little Bird learned a new word! He loves it so much that he’s bursting to share it with all of his friends.
BLARK! BLARK! BLARK!
The only problem is, this isn’t a very nice word. Little Bird doesn’t realize it, but this word might even hurt someone’s feelings. What word will Little Bird learn to make things better?
With the help of Papa Bird, maybe Little Bird will learn another new word–one that will make things all better.
Little Bird is off with his Papa Bird hunting for delicious worms to eat. They are having a grand time together until Papa Bird accidentally drops the worm and a BLARK! escapes from his beak. Sure enough, Little Bird is thrilled to borrow an adult word from his Papa, but despite his Papa asking him to please NOT use the word, Little Bird starts shouting and squawking BLARK! at all of his friends around the forest. However, rather than impressing his friends with a big, new bad adult word, Little Bird startles Frog, frightens Turtle back into his shell and renders Moose speechless, leaving him…alone.
As a picture book relatively light on text, Little Bird’s Bad Word relies on Grant’s wonderfully expressive illustrations to hit major points home. Grant does a great job here with animated, vibrant larger and ’rounder’ illustrations and darker splashes of BLARKS! across pages. I have used this title a few times now for preschool and older storytimes and the children have enjoyed it- as have parents, teachers, and caregivers who can definitely relate! A good story about learning by mistakes- and learning to say sorry- Little Bird’s Bad Word is a funny read that has a good dose of sweetness to it. (And a little extra Blark! at the end, for good measure!).
I received copies of Stella Brings the Family and Little Bird’s Bad Word courtesy of Raincoast Books in exchange for honest reviews. All opinions and comments are my own.