You may or may not have noticed that in the title of my book reviews besides the author’s last name and the book’s title I put the year of publication in parenthesis. This time you see two numbers and to make it more confusing the later date comes first. The story is that that Stella, Princess of the Sky, by Marie-Louise Gay was first published in English in 2004. (The book is also available in French as the author is Canadian.) then in 2009 it was published in Hungarian, which is the version I read and keep reading. To be more accurate the Hungarian edition is bilingual and is used as a book to teach children between the age of 2 and 5 to learn English. We are going the other way around, I read in Hungarian to my 2+ year old daughter so her Hungarian would improve.
Right now she is much more interested in the drawings than the story. I can’t blame her, they are mesmerizing. They were drawn and painted by the author. Here is a great write-up about her background, style and work method.
One might think that Gay’s loose and distorted drawing style would be casual and random. However, Gay is very meticulous about her illustrations. She will work on one drawing, doing several drafts until she feels that what she has is perfect. …Each drawing takes about five days to create. After the sketch is complete, she does the pencil roughs, which lead to the final pencil drawings, the lines are inked and then the picture is painted.
Click on the image below to see a bigger version of a two page spread I copied from the publisher’s (Grimm) site.
Having a redhead protagonist named Stella and gorgeously drawn illustrations already guaranteed the book’s success in our home. But having a story line where the siblings teach each other, go for a safe adventure and are in amazing awe of the wonders of the world rounded up the experience to near perfection. I just wish that the book would be longer than 32/44 pages. The good news is that there five more Stella books and three Sam books in English listed at the author’s site and two of them are available in the bilingual, Hungarian edition. Th books are also being developed into an animated TV series, and will start airing (at least in Canada) next January.