Saturday, December 31, 2011


Written by Mary Lyn Ray
Illustrated by Marla Frazee
$16.99, ages 2-6, 40 pages

An acclaimed author contemplates what stars are for, in a picture book reminiscent of Ruth Kraus' A Hole is to Dig.

"A star is how you know it's almost night," Mary Lyn Ray writes, as a boy walks his dog and gazes at the darkening sky.

Ray, the author of Basket Moon, describes stars as reassuring lights that never go away and shares other stars that are close enough to touch.

When day ends, the stars in the heavens click on like strings of white lights, and "the dark that comes doesn't feel so dark."

If only they weren't so far away, never to be held or carried. But suppose you could have a star of your own, one that fit right in your hand.

Okay, maybe not a real star like those in the sky, she adds, but you could draw a star on paper, cut it out and put it in your pocket!

It would be like having your best rock in there, only different, she says.

You could also put a paper star on a stick and make a wand, then give it to a friend.

(But a different star, never the one in your pocket, Ray explains. That one's just for you.)

Some days, she adds, you might feel like a star, all shiny inside. Other days you might not.

But don't worry. Just reach into your pocket and touch your star, and it will brighten your way.

If you ever lose that star, don't waste a moment. Just make a new one or find one!

Stars are waiting in the most unexpected places: in the patterns of moss, on the tops of strawberries, in pumpkin blossoms and snowflakes.

Or you could send stars back into the sky to mingle with the nighttime stars.

Just look for a dandelion in full plume, take a deep breath and blow.

In blowing dandelion fluff, you blow a thousand stars in the sky, she writes as the boy from earlier blows his.

Before him, a mango-colored sky glitters with a swirling trail of dandelion seeds.

But these are stars that belong to the earth, that you can seek out and touch.

The other stars, those in the night, you have to wait for.

But never doubt that they are there, Ray adds. Even when you can't see them, they are right where you left them.

Ray celebrates the wonder of stars, the comfort they bring and the feeling of possibility they convey, while Frazee makes every page feel as if it was sprinkled with stardust.

Frazee has won Caldecott Honors for All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon and A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever, which she wrote and illustrated.

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