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Page history last edited by RichiesPicks 8 years, 5 months ago

28 October 2011 STARS by Mary Lyn Ray and Marla Frazee, ill., Beach Lane Books, October 2011, 40p., ISBN: 978-1-4424-2249-0


"Would you like to swing on a star

Carry moonbeams home in a jar

And be better off than you are

Or would you rather be a mule?

-- Johnny Burke, "Swinging on a Star" (1944)

(I love hearing the Dave Van Ronk version from the late Sixties.)


"A star is how you know it's almost night.  As soon as you see one, there's another and another.  And the dark that comes doesn't feel so dark."


One of the really special times at my farm, here in the coastal hills of California, is at two o'clock in the morning on a clear, dark night when you can see the Milky Way stretching across the sky in all its glory.  Looking up at the stars makes me feel the vast limitlessness of what is out there.  


Stars shine bright and so stars have come to have a positive connotation.  If you are a reader of book reviews, you know that many of the journals designate essays of their favorites as "starred" reviews.  Stars mean that something is really special.


"Everybody's a dreamer and everybody's a star

Everybody's in showbiz, it doesn't matter who you are.

There are stars in every cityIn every house and on every street.

And if you walk down Hollywood Boulevard

Their names are written in concrete."

-- Ray Davies, "Celluloid Heroes"


I love how this book STARS begins with a look at the stars in the sky and then meanders through all sorts of ways we use and think about stars.  We can cut out star shapes to use on wands or as a sheriff badge or to mark a special date on a calendar.  We can think of snowflakes and pumpkin flowers as star-shaped.  Throughout the book, illustrator Marla Frazee has a great cast of young characters engaging in these star-related activities.  My favorite is of a trio of children at dusk, watching the first stars appear.


STAR is a book that brings the old preschool teacher out in me.  It is a perfect circle time book.  I want to read this book aloud and sing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and recite Myra Cohn Livingston's poem "The Moon and a Star," and have stacks of paper stars cut out to color and star-shaped sponges to print with.  And make sure that each and every kid knows that he or she is a star.  STAR brings out all of this great stuff and is filled with stellar illustrations.


Stellar.  That's like kick-ass.  Meaning really, really good.

Richie Partington, MLIS
Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.com
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