by Rosemary Wells; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary Candlewick 32 pp.
3/14 978-0-7636-1495-9 $15.99
Somewhere in the mountains, Stella the fox and her parents live in a mobile home by the side of the road. The Starliner meets all their needs. “Inside was a room for sleeping and a room for being awake. There was a kitchen and a radio and a sofa that turned into a bed.” Daddy comes home from work on the weekends, and there are pancakes on Sunday mornings and fishing on Sunday afternoons. During the week there are trips to the market and visits to the bookmobile. This peaceful life snags for Stella when a gang of weasels mock her home and call her “poor.” She tries to hide her hurt to protect Mama’s feelings, but her intuitive mother sees. Meanwhile something magical happens as the Starliner, hitched to Daddy’s truck, flies through the night sky toward palm trees, the ocean, and new bunny neighbors who see value in this “sterling silver” house. Packaged within silver starry-sky endpapers, the illustrations (in watercolor, gouache, pastel, ink, and colored pencil on sanded paper) vary in size from spot art to a striking double-page spread of the flying Starliner. Backgrounds are full of symbols that deepen the story, and words and images work effectively together to develop the setting and this loving family looking out for one another.