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Earth to Stella



Last updated Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Author: Simon Puttock
Illustrator: Philip Hopman
Date of Publication: 2006
ISBN: 0618585354
Grade Level: 1st    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Apr. 2009

Synopsis: Stella loves everything about space, and her imagination takes her out into the solar system at bedtime. She lands on a planet and meets tingly blue space bugs, but she stays safely grounded to Earth through on-and-off conversations with Dad. EARTH TO STELLA: DONT FORGET TO SCRUB BEHIND THOSE EARS! 'CHECK, said Stella, just before she dons her helmet, boards her chicken-shaped rocket ship, and starts the countdown to blastoff. EARTH TO STELLA: COULD YOU KEEP THE NOISE DOWN, PLEASE? What makes this story extra special is the poignant bedtime routine between father and daughter. Their bond is verbal and visibly loving, yet always filled with a sense of fun and a shared love of space. Children get a glimpse of the sun, stars, and a shooting comet. Everything will draw them in: the protagonists vivid imagination; the pages bursting with color; the innovative illustrations in pastels, crayon, and paint; and the dialogue boxes that resemble radio transmissions. A stellar choice for independent readers and groups alike.

Note to readers:
•  During the picture walk, notice the colors of orange and blue.
•  Identify the items on her bookshelf for the picture walk (globe, chicken, etc.).
•  Have fun with the effects! Make a zooming sound, go vrooooooom, blast off, etc.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Can you go into outer space?
•  Have you ever been to the moon?
•  Have you ever seen these insects (check back cover)?
•  Can chickens fly?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  How do you get ready for bed? (Do you brush your teeth? Do you wash your face?)
•  Where is Stella’s dad?
•  What’s your favorite star color? What color is the sun?
•  Have you been anywhere like this before?
•  What kind of things are on different planets?
•  Do you play with bugs?
•  When you go to space, what will you take with you?
•  What adventures have you been on?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a Moon Mobile with the Characters from the Book. (See the last page of the book ). Draw a large circle and decorate it with the characters from the book–have the kids draw them or you can pre-cut some figures so they can glue some and draw others. Have the characters doing fun things. Make a hole at the top and attach a string for the kids to hang their Moon!
•  TEACHING TIP: Show the kids how to draw the circle using a string and crayon. Cut a short string and attach one end to a crayon. Hold the other end (you can tie a knot to make it easier to hold) on the middle of the paper. Stretch the sting taught and draw an arc shape (like a compass) and then draw a complete circle. This will demonstrate to the kids a handmade compass and how to draw a perfect circle.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!