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STELLA’S DANCING DAYS by Sandy Asher

STELLA’S DANCING DAYS

By Sandy Asher (Author) , Kathryn Brown (Illustrator)

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: March 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-15-201613-9
Publisher: Harcourt

A child's book that looks back with nostalgia on lost youth. Stella is a kitten who loves to dance, charming in turn the Tall One, the Gentle One, the Littlest One with the Loudest Voice, and the Fuzzy One with Floppy Ears with her pirouettes and arabesques. But she grows up, as everyone does, and leaves her dancing days behind for other things: stalking bugs, sitting in windows—and bearing a litter of dancing kittens. Asher (With All My Heart, With All My Mind, not reviewed, etc.) has crafted a simple story with a clever cat's-voice perspective. But while Stella's maturation parallels the children's to a certain extent (" 'Stella is a big cat now,' said the Littlest One, 'and I am a big boy!' ”), the older children's wistful yearning for Stella's kittenish antics smacks more of an adult's sensibility than a child's. Brown's (Old Thunder and Miss Raney, 2000, etc.) wispy, washed-out ink-and-watercolor illustrations are just a little too cute, sometimes anthropomorphizing Stella (what cat would submit gracefully to being dressed in a doll's blouse and skirt?) and sometimes opting for a more realistic representation. It is, nevertheless, a sweet story that may give children some way to relate to their elders' sighs of regret that they, too, are growing up. (Picture book. 3-7)