Stella by the Sea

Puffin Aussie Chomps, 2003
ISBN: 0 14 330066 0

Stella wants an ordinary house, an ordinary backyard, and a dog. But her mum Lucille is a real-estate legend and her dad Henry is a famous TV garden expert, and nowhere they live is ordinary.

The one day Stella spots the house of her dreams and discovers that life is full of surprises.

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Prizes and awards:

  • Shortlisted, Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year, Younger Readers (2004)
  • Shortlisted, Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards, Best Children’s Book (2004).

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A review of Stella by the Sea
by Nola Allen
Magpies, vol. 18 no. 4, September 2003

Resourceful and independent Stella Seaton turns her dreams into reality when she investigates a cubby house for sale in the local paper. She skilfully negotiates a deal with Chester Vizard, a retired pastry chef, to not only buy the cubby house but also to rent it from him.

Stella has two problems - namely, her parents and the fact that they all live in a penthouse apartment with panoramic ocean views but no backyard. With a real estate legend for a mother, a celebrity garden re-designer (a la 'Backyard Blitz') for a father and having lived four different lifestyles in the last six years, Stella is ready for something of her own.

This story is smart and funny, just like its endearing main character, Stella. There's a charming irony about the fact that after soliciting real estate advice from her mother, Stella effectively secures a 'deal' for a piece of property that Lucille Seaton, a real estate agent extraordinaire, would give anything to have on her books.

Stella's motives, however, are completely genuine as is the friendship that develops between her and Chester. While Chester's kindness enables Stella to realise her dream, she, in turn, introduces him to his neighbours who eventually become his friends.

The dialogue throughout is amusing and engaging, while the story skips along at a brisk pace. With its fairytale ending, Stella by the Sea will be a popular addition to any library.

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