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STELLA THE STAR by Mark Shulman


by Mark Shulman & illustrated by Vincent Nguyen

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: April 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-8027-8894-7
Publisher: Walker

Shulman’s wry comedy of errors sends up over-eager parents. Stella’s parents are in a tizzy over a note from her teacher declaring Stella will be a star in the school play. Suddenly Stella is caught up in a whirl of parental frenzy, as they set out to acquire only the best accoutrements for their little star. Although comedic, the subtext of Shulman’s tale is achingly poignant; as her parents crow about her accomplishments, Stella consistently responds, “I want you to be proud.” The punch line of the tale is, of course, that Stella is a star not the star. Commendably, Stella’s parents rise to the occasion, sincerely—if a bit red-faced—lauding her achievement. Nguyen’s full-bleed oil paintings function as a droll foil for the text; featuring an adorably doe-eyed Stella as she acts entirely appropriate to her age—doodling with the makeup at the salon, etc. More a satire, this tale is best appreciated by an older reader, as the nuances of the parental expectations versus the reality of the situation will be lost on a younger, more traditional picture-book audience. (Picture book. 5-8)