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  • Writer's pictureSandy

Stellarphant, by James Foley

In this engaging picture book written and illustrated by James Foley, Stella the elephant refuses to give up on her dream of becoming an astronaut. However - Stella keeps coming up against seemingly impenetrable hurdles at Space Command. She's too big, she doesn't have the right training, she needs a crew...

Stella is resourceful and resilient, but the man at Space Command just keeps coming up with more reasons why she can't become an astronaut. Will Stella ever realise her dream of reaching the stars?

I borrowed a copy of Stellarphant from the library and it instantly captured Mr 5's imagination. He didn't once question the fact that an elephant was fronting up to Space Command wanting to become an astronaut, and cheered Stella on the whole way. We loved Stella's determination, courage and cleverness.

Mr 5 was also very taken with the fold-out page at the end of the book, and the endpapers which show a true history of animals in space. He pored over this true history intently, counting and naming all the animals (we hadn't known that fish, frogs and ladybirds were among animals who have travelled to space!)

The bold expressive illustrations are completely captivating, emanating humour and warmth. They work beautifully with the multi-layered narrative which is rich with meaning.

I imagine this book will initiate discussion around themes of resilience, determination, courage, diversity, and inclusivity. I love books that inspire kids to follow their dreams and never give up.

We loved this book so much I'll be buying our own copy, as Mr 5 doesn't want to return this one to the library!

Stellarphant was shortlisted for the CBCA Picture Book of the Year (2022) and the Aurealis Awards for Best Children's Fiction (2022).

Published by Fremantle Press



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