Every night, just before bedtime, someone who’s really special reads to you from a book of your choosing.
One night, you might pick something with princesses and magic. Another night, it might be your favorite tale about talking bears or dancing penguins. And sometimes, you like to hear a story with lots of chapters that needs a few days to finish.
Your bedtime stories take you on many adventures before they take you to sleep. But what if you could be like the people inside your storybooks? In “Isabella: Star of the Story” by Jennifer Fosberry, pictures by Mike Litwin, that’s what happens to another young book lover.
Isabella’s parents were taking her to the library. She was soooo excited, she practically skipped down the sidewalk! Today would be the day when some lucky books were going home with her.
But it wasn’t really Isabella who ran up the library steps. It looked like Isabella, but it was really someone else — perhaps Peter Pan, who was planning to fly straight into the children’s room at the library. Or maybe it was Goldilocks, who simply couldn’t bear to choose a book that was too long or too short. She wanted one that was juuuuust right.
Black Beauty might have been the one with the library card. She was galloping around the bookshelves in search of a great horse tale for bedtime, finding greener grass in every aisle. Or maybe, just maybe the library was an awesome place for a girl named Alice. It sure was a Wonderland filled with lots of reading possibilities.
When they left that house that day, Isabella’s parents took one little girl to the library but they saw many, many different little book lovers. Now it was getting very late, the library was closing, and there was only one name on the library card. So who would be checking books out? And which would she choose for a bedtime story?
As a grown-up, you know that books take you to all kinds of places. Your child learns that, too, each time you read aloud to her. “Isabella: Star of the Story” helps boost her imagination — and yet, I had two separate thoughts.
Starting with the illustrations by Litwin, there’s a lot to like about this book. The jewel-tones that Litwin uses will make kids want to pick it up just to enjoy the richness of each page. That’s a winner right there.
As for Fosberry’s main character, Isabella is quite likeable. She’s sassy and playful, and kids will think she’s fun. The issue is that the younger side of Isabella’s audience — 4- to 7-year-olds — may not completely understand the literary references in this book. Fosberry’s story is delightful, but it may be more aimed at adults.
That notwithstanding (because it’s not a huge annoyance), I think if you’re working through the classics with your child, this book will be nice to read on the side. For the two of you then, “Isabella: Star of the Story” may be a book to choose.
View publishes Terri Schlichenmeyer’s children’s book reviews weekly.