Bernadette Peters and Liz Murphythe terrific team behind the New York Times best-selling Broadway Barksare back with a story about Stella, a pup who would rather be a graceful pig ballerina than what she really is: a dog no one seems to like.
Bernadette Peters' lovable Stella learns the lessons of self-acceptance, following her heart's desires and, most important, that it's okay just to be herself. The book includes a CD with an original song written and performed by Bernadette Peters.
Publication Date: 4/7/2010
Reading Level: Age 5 and Up
Bernadette Peters is an American actress, singer and children's book author from New York City.
Peters is known for her charitable work, including as a founder of the Broadway Barks animal charity. To support the animal adoption charity, Broadway Barks, Peters has written two children's books, both illustrated by Liz Murphy.
The first is about a scrappy dog, named after her dog Kramer, and the pleasure of adopting a pet. Titled Broadway Barks, the book is published by Blue Apple Books (2008). The book reached #5 on The New York Times Children's Best Sellers: Picture Books list for the week of June 8, 2008.
Her second children's book is the story of a pit bull, Stella, named after Peters' pit bull. The character would rather be a pig ballerina, but she learns to accept herself. Titled Stella is a Star, the book includes a CD with an original song written and performed by Peters and was released in April 2010 by Blue Apple Books.
So (I've come to rely on "so" to begin "in medias res" -- as if the use of that word will turn my informal paragraphs into an epic), I decided to escape from the world of "the most evil women" and pick up a kids' book that I bought during a recent one-day escape from burdens. My husband and I ran off to DC to see the fabulous Bernadette Peters in one of our favorite Sondheim shows, FOLLIES. The Kennedy Center shops were selling autographed copies of Peters' books for children. Perhaps I should feel embarrassed that I bought this book only because Peters had signed it; but I don't mind admitting that, if I saw Peters toss a piece of toilet paper into the ladies' room trash, I'd fish it out and put it with my valuables.
My reason for buying the book may have been ridiculous; but the book, which has interesting illustrations by Liz Murphy, is not. STELLA IS A STAR struck me as a fresh presentation of an old message: You can go far when you are who you are. I read the book before I realized that a CD is attached to the inside of the back cover. Listening to Peters read the book was an unexpected treat; listening to her sing the song at the end of the story puts hot fudge, chocolate chips, and cherries on top.
Get it for your young kids or grandkids; and perhaps in ten years, they'll want to go with you to see great performers in brilliant shows instead of buying tickets to their generation's version of Lady Gaga. Nah. Lovely fantasy, though.
Sigh. This is a sweet, if not exactly original, idea and it's kinda cute but it could be so much more. Plus, it's all just a bit complicated--we have a dog, who pretends she is a pig, and not just any pig but a princess pig. She does this so people will like her (because she doesn't feel very special just the way she is) and also because pigs are the best dancers and she wants to go to ballet class. You can probably already guess where this is going, and what the moral of the story will be. Along the way, we have a star ballerina get injured right before opening night (how original!) and Stella has to step in, but oh my! will she be able to do the star's dance AND keep her crown on? Or will everyone figure out who she REALLY is?
There's a song at the end, all about being true to yourself, and while I admit I didn't bother popping the accompanying CD into my player, the written-out lyrics seemed a bit forced and saccharine to me (and I can totally dig musicals--and sweet stuff!).
Sigh. I like Bernadette Peters, I really do! In movies, on Broadway... And I think her heart was in the right place with this book. And I love that she was inspired to write this because of her rescued pit bull pup (yay, animal rescue!) But, I'm afraid I have to add her to the list of celebrities who don't have any business getting so-so books for children published with mega-marketing bucks behind them just because they are celebs; especially when there are so many better new writers who aren't getting published because they have no name recognition.
This is a beautiful story written by the wonderful Bernadette Peters. This book was gifted to my daughter for her birthday and we have read it several times a day for the past 9 months. Whenever we get in the car, she requests to listen to the puppy book and has it memorized.