Tashjian introduces a smart, young Latina protagonist in a strong series opener for young readers.
Shy, brown-skinned, 9-year-old sticker-enthusiast Martina Rivera moved with her family to Los Angeles less than a year ago, and she still hasn’t collected the courage to make any school friends. When Martina’s dad returns from a business trip, he hands Martina a new sheet of stickers. An amazed Martina discovers that the stickers magically come to life, with sound effects: “Whoosh! Poof! Bang!” Friendships emerge with a cast of magical, shenanigan-prone pals: Craig, a caring yet curmudgeonly cupcake; Lucinda, a whimsical, seemingly perpetually sleepy fairy; Nora, a kind ladybug with a karaoke machine; a trio of rambunctious, playful puppies; and Evelyn, a pink Pegasus, among other lively stickers. For Martina, making friends at school is no piece of (cup)cake, especially when she gets paired with two extroverted white classmates, Bev Swanson and Mike Belmont. Narrated by Martina with some Spanish interspersed, the story has a fast-paced plotline and well-developed characters. With humor, delicacy, and creativity, Tashjian folds in cultural and socio-economic references to develop Martina and her family while also inserting fun and informative scientific facts gleaned from Martina’s lessons at school. Clouds, confetti, stars, and bubble-shaped letters accompany Wilmink’s grayscale depictions and match the sticker motif without being overbearing.
Readers will be eager for the follow-up adventures of Sticker Girl.(Fantasy. 8-12)