Friday, February 5, 2016

PPBF: Stella Queen of the Snow

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

Stella Queen of the Snow, by Marie-Louise Gay
Stella Queen of the Snow
Written and illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay
Groundwood Books, 2010
ages 4-8

Siblings, winter

"Sam had never seen snow. This was his first snowstorm."

Sam has never seen a big snowfall, so his big sister Stella takes him out into the wide white and shows him everything he needs to know.  Although she wants to romp, Stella patiently satisfies Sam's boundless curiosity. He has a million questions; She has a million and one answers. What do snowmen eat? Snow peas among other things. Why do we see our breath? Because our words freeze. Everything we say is a different shape, but since Sam can't read, naturally he wouldn't know. In the end, Sam learns how to enjoy a winter day and his sister learns that even pesky little brothers can make good companions.

What I Love:
Believe it or not, this is the first Stella book I've read, but it won't be the last. Energetic illustrations, pitch-perfect dialogue, dazzling colors, and loving siblings make this a book we'll return to.
The book ends a bit abruptly, but I forgive it because it is just so believable. I love the subtle way the author displays the pair's relationship. She brings out Stella's personality in the way she answers each question. But parents will recognize themselves in Stella, too. How often do we try to come up with as many answers as a toddler has questions. The perfect warm and fuzzy for those chilly fireside reading sessions.


More from an article in the National Post
1. Readers who enjoyed Stella, Queen of the Snow, may want to look for other books about Stella and Sam. I found almost a dozen other titles on the creator's website.
2. Meet the author at TeachingBooks. One video in French, one in English.
3. Marie-Louise Gay's work graces Canadian postage stamps! Read an interview with the book's creator on All the Little Lights. While you're at it, why not let readers explore a new hobby: collecting stamps. Tips for kids at the American Philatelic Society.
4. Stella has an answer for every question and her ideas are rather eccentric. Challenge students with questions like the ones below. First, do they know the right answer? Second, can they come up with an imaginative fictional response like Stella's?
  • Why do snowflakes have six sides? Why are they each different?
  • What sound does snow make? Why is it cold?
  • Does it ever snow in the desert? Why or why not?
  • Where does ice come from? Where do snow and ice go in the summer?
  • Where are the bears in winter? What do they do all winter long?
5. Stella compares snow to vanilla ice cream. Make your own vanilla ice cream science experiment from TeachNet or maple snow candy (like the one in Miracles on Maple Hill) with this recipe from
6. DesMoines Performing Arts Center has an activity guide and performance ideas on their website.

 7. Check out these and more Perfect Picture Books at your local library.

Reviewed By Fats

Reviewed by Barbara

Reviewed by Joanne

Reviewed by Andrea

Have you reviewed a Perfect Picture Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for February 5, 2016 available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.


  1. Lovely! I'm betting the PPBF link is not up due to snowfall!

    1. How ironic! Thanks for checking. I have been away anyway, so I wouldn't have had the chance to link it. Your review looked quirky and graphic. I can't wait to see it in person (if I can find it)


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