"Stella Batts" is a series for early chapter-book readers, and Courtney Sheinmel really knows how to write for that age group. In "Stella Batts: Something Blue," the sixth book in the series, Stella's aunt is getting married.
Her Aunt Laura is marrying Rob, who is divorced and has a daughter. While Stella and her sister are excited to be in the wedding, Rob's daughter is not.
Stella is a good role model for young readers. She wants to do the right thing, but at that age sometimes it's hard to know what the right thing is. And while she wants to keep promises, she's confused about what she should tell her parents. So when Rob's daughter Lia wants to disappear instead of being a part of the wedding, and she makes Stella promise not to tell, Stella doesn't know what to do.
The Stella Batts stories are great vehicles for teachers and parents to use for starting dialogue with kids about what is right and wrong. The stories will also help kids understand that sometimes it's hard to know the right thing to do. And at this age (from six through ten) kids are often struggling with right and wrong.
There are other issues in the story. The wedding cake they bring is broken. Stella spray paints the wedding dress blue by mistake. The wedding is delayed. Stella wonders if the problems are because her aunt doubled up on the traditional "Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue."
But the reader learns that mistakes are just that. And fixing the mistakes and finding solutions to problems works out just fine. And at the end, nothing ruins the wedding. In fact, Stella finds out why Lia is so resistant to attending the wedding and fixes that problem.
Stella Batts books are perfect for beginning-reader girls who have not yet fallen in love with reading. I know that because a friend borrowed a few of these books for her six-year-old daughter, Sofia. The girl is hooked. In fact, she was able to articulate why she like the books so much. "There is so much happening in them." She is able to relate to the character, and in fact, talks about her to others.
She showed the series to her teacher, who was so impressed that she began to read the book aloud to the class. That's a good book!
Also, the books are written in first person narrative, so the readers know exactly what Stella is thinking. She narrates as if she's writing in her journal, and when she stops to explain difficult words, both readers and teachers are appreciative.
Begin with the first book, "Stella Batts Needs a New Name," and then move on to the rest: "Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow, "Stella Batts: Pardon Me, "A Case of the Meanies, and "Who's in Charge?" The books even have their own website.
Why five stars? Because any book that can make a reader out of a child deserves five stars in my book! It's all about getting kids "hooked" on reading.
Please note: This review is based on the final paperback book provided by the publisher, Sleeping Bear Press, for review purposes.
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