Starla Jean Takes The Cake

Roaring Brook. (Starla Jean: Bk. 2). Sept. 2021. 96p. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9781250305787.
Gr 1-3–Starla Jean, who is Willa’s big sister and a chicken expert, is a curious and spirited little girl with pale skin and dark hair. She is eager to help her mom plan Willa’s first birthday party, complete with making bean-and-cheese burritos and a homemade cake! It’s a good thing Starla Jean is a chicken expert because her chicken, Opal Egg, will lay an egg for the cake. When she checks the chicken coop and finds no eggs, she must figure out how to save the day and get Willa’s cake made. With four short chapters, Arnold captures the innocence of childhood while making readers giggle. Each chapter contains a combination of full- and half-page illustrations—no page is without some imagery to cue readers. Sentence length varies, making it perfect to share with family. The use of bold and elongated words, like “BAWK” keep the reader engaged. Children will see themselves in the animal-loving protagonist and be eager for more adventures. Starla Jean is the kind of enduring character that readers will turn to time and time again.
VERDICT The delightful second in an excellent series of early reader chapter books. Children will love solving problems and chuckling alongside Starla Jean.

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