In the first of a new series, third-grader Stella realizes she really needs a new name, since the class bully has started calling her "Smella," following an unfortunate (and stinky) accident on a field trip.
That's not the only reason that Stella wants to change her name; she's also frustrated because she doesn't have a nickname. She and her best friends decide to choose new names that seem more appropriate to their interests: Candy! Willa becomes Caramel, Lucy's new name is Truffle and Talisa is Kit Kat. But Stella surprises everybody when she chooses the name of a bookstore for herself—Scheherazade, or Sherry for short. After a few days of name changing, described in Stella's autobiography, she realizes it's hard to remember everyone's new names, including her own. When she hears that her parents chose Stella especially for her, that's sufficient reason to give up her new one. Featuring large print and cheery black-and-white illustrations on almost every spread, this would be an easy sell for girls just transitioning to chapter books. While nothing of great significance happens, it effectively portrays the minor ups and downs of typical suburban elementary-school life, neatly captured in Stella's age-appropriate first-person narration.
A pleasant, good-humored early chapter book with the effervescence—and substance—of a soft drink. (Fiction. 5-9)