Stars Hardcover – Oct 4 2011
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*"Ray (Christmas Farm) and Frazee (The Boss Baby), two big talents beating as one, assemble a cast of junior philosophers to help them muse on why stars—as celestial bodies, as shapes, as symbols, as talismans—hold so much meaning and mystery for us...while the prevailing tone is contemplative, it’s more quirky than languid, capturing the delicious freedom of Ray’s mind at play. Her prose wanders in the best sense of the word, and Frazee is happy to connect the dots and explore the detours, showing readers how stars can turn sticks into wands, cheer us up, or remind us, gently, of how much of the universe is beyond our grasp."
--Publishers Weekly, August 15, 2011, *STAR
*"Ray’s simple ode to stars is an engaging concept book.... Frazee’s deft sketches of a diverse array of young children, scattered on white or mottled blue pages, are both playful and evocative.... [Stars] celebrates everyday experiences of children, prompting observation of the world around us, and it’s beautifully structured for eliciting children’s conversation and response. There are bits of humor and poetry, an engaging cast of players/star watchers, and many possibilities for pairing the book with crafts, activities, and other books, too."
--School Library Journal, October 2011, *STAR
"Most of us rarely take time to notice the twinkling lights that adorn the sky on clear evenings, but Mary Lyn Ray’s Stars reminds us of the wonder that surrounds us—night and day. Caldecott Honor recipient Marla Frazee’s soothing graphite and gouache illustrations are the perfect accompaniment to the quiet, gentle text.... This stunning collaboration between writer and artist gently reminds us that shining stars bring beauty to the world. Stars will encourage young readers and listeners (and their parents) to gaze with new appreciation at the night sky."
--BookPage, October 1, 2011
* "Stars. Who hasn’t looked up in the sky and contemplated their magical presence?.... The winning combination of Ray and Frazee crystallizes these ideas into a near-perfect picture book that encourages children’s minds to wander and wonder. The airy illustrations move across the pages like clouds in the sky, showing star shapes everywhere, even in strawberry plants, pumpkin vines, and snowflakes. In a final message, the book asks children to remember that stars are around whether you see them or not: “Every night. Everywhere.” Lovely."
--Booklist, October 15, 2011, *STAR
"Ray’s quiet, friendly narrative begins and ends with stars in the night sky.... This contemplative book has strong adult appeal, but kids too may appreciate the spot-on portrayal of child play (sticking a paper star on a shirt to be sheriff; maniacally waving a pretend wand while making a wish; stowing precious objects in their pockets) and enjoy the lovely ruminations about nature and the night sky."
--The Horn Book, November/December 2011
"Does anyone illustrate the facial expressions, postures and movements of children with the same gloriously authentic exuberance as Marla Frazee (“The Seven Silly Eaters,” “Everywhere Babies”)? Here, a star takes many forms—in the night, on a wand, as a snowflake or in the wilds of a young imagination.... Ray (“Mud,” “Red Rubber Boot Day”) grounds her text in the everyday experiences of young children. “A star is how you know it’s almost night,” she explains. “And the dark that comes doesn’t feel so dark.""
--The New York Times Book Review Children's Bookshelf, October 16, 2011
"A poetic paean to stars both real and metaphorical brings the heavenly down to readers without robbing it of mystery. Calmly and directly, Ray addresses the reader in this gentle, somnolent narrative.... Like a lulling tide, the text moves easily between grounded practical advice...and naturalistic metaphor.... Frazee excels at illustrating textual details in fresh ways, keeping young children engaged and curious.... Her pictures ebb and flow with the text, alternating charming spots of self-possessed, spirited youngsters with ink-black or gloriously blue, starry heavens inviting dreamy meditation.
Ideal for bedtime, this will shine on through repeat readings."
-Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2011
* "Mary Lyn Ray’s Stars...splendidly treats its subject with the matter-of-fact openness of childhood reminiscent of classics such as A Hole Is to Dig.... Physically, the book is a thing of understated beauty.... This is the kind of bigger-than-it-seems book that exemplifies picture books at their finest. Young dreamers in particular will appreciate the imaginative approach, and they’ll especially enjoy experiencing this fanciful rhapsody as a bedtime book—especially if shared by flashlight in the warmth of a summer night under the stars."
-The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, December 2011, *STAR
"From tiny white strawberry blossoms in the spring to snowflakes in the winter, from the tip of a wand to the points of a sheriff’s badge, from the shape you make when you turn a cartwheel to the twinkling night lights in the sky, stars are all around us. We only have to look, this dreamy book tells us."
--Washington Post Best Children’s Book 2011
"The simple, hand-lettered text of “Stars” reinforces the child-centric focus, and the illustrations, which vary from diminutive vignettes to sweeping panoramas without a soul in sight, capture the extraordinary attention children often pay to ordinary things.... That sense of abundant and abiding light is no small gift to give during the long dark months of winter.”
--The Washington Post, December 7, 2011
"This ode to everything stars are (part of a wand, a pin that makes you sheriff, a sign you’ve done well) is paired with incandescent art showing the heavenly shapes in ivy, snowflakes and in your pocket—for wishing on."
--People Magazine, December 19, 2011
About the Author
Mary Lyn Ray is a conservationist and author of several picture books for children. Ray’s texts are often praised for their lyricism and emotional depth, and in her works she frequently focuses on humankind’s relationship with nature. Among her critically acclaimed titles are Stars, Christmas Farm, Pumpkins, Shaker Boy, and Welcome, Brown Bird.
Marla Frazee has illustrated many acclaimed picture books, including God Got a Dog by Cynthia Rylant; Stars by Mary Lyn Ray; All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon, which received a 2010 Caldecott Honor; Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers; and Harriet, You’ll Drive Me Wild! by Mem Fox; as well as her own Farmer and the Clown; Boot & Shoe; The Boss Baby; Walk On!; Roller Coaster; Santa Claus the World’s Number One Toy Expert; and A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever, which received a 2009 Caldecott Honor. She is also the illustrator of the bestselling Clementine chapter book series by Sara Pennypacker. She lives in Pasadena, California. Visit her at MarlaFrazee.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The cover, with exception of the title word, is one of the full page pictures on the inside of this book. The art illustrations are a watercolor form with a graphite drawing added once dry. More of an art style than a cartoon look. It is a professional and child-pleasing form to deliver the story. It's the quality one would expect from a book division of Simon and Schuster. Will this become another Caldecott award winner from book illustrator Marla Frazee?
The children represented in the story's drawings are generic enough that one does not have to deal with nationality or ethnic issues. They are just kids, and they find stars in all kinds of wonderful places that offer opportunities to talk with a child listener. What else might they see there? Where else can a star shape be found? These are learning questions perfect for Dad, Nana, Sister, or teacher to present to a child reading for themselves, or being read to, depending upon age. The large 8.5 x 12.5 size gives the book added wonderment to young children.
It states there is an ebook edition available, but for my money, I'd vote on the real deal. It comes with a hard cover with the colored cover drawing PLUS a dust jacket that has the cover child and title slightly embossed.
A good gift idea of a child, or for a family of children, as this story is ageless and will be appropriate as long as the stars are in the sky. Grandparents, like me, should have one ready on their home self, as it's a quick read for grandkids, not requiring a l-o-n-g attention span. And if you know an early elementary teacher, they could use it in class, and will thank you for the resource material. Most teachers have to buy these type of books for their own classroom, I know! Get one to have your child give as a teacher's gift. No special occasion is necessary.
Children books are always hard for me to review it seems like because they are so short - but this one has great illustrations and a great little story to it. It made my daughter want to go to the store to buy scissors and shiny paper so she could have a star for her pocket too. That means she's listening.
My initial impression is that while it's not my favorite of the three Frazee books I've read, it's a sweet addition to my daughters' library (my oldest is almost two and a half), and I look forward to reading it often with them.
I like that the print in the book is handwriting - that, combined with the many pages of children on mostly white backgrounds, reminded me a little of Malika Fouchier's Lala.
I also like that the characters have cute and distinctive outfits - little red cowboy boots, three pigtails, striped leggings. This might make the book seem slightly dated in years to come, but that's not a bad thing.
I like the simple story and the idea - one simple subject, elaborated. It's particularly good for my two-and-a-half year old, who is at the age where it's still a wonder to her that the same word can have so many different meanings, and where she's beginning to make obvious word associations and participate in conversations. A few days after getting sick from being spun "so fast" on a swing, I told her I would cut her nails "so fast" - and she warned me, "I might throw up...").
I love Frazee's playful, swirly, rolling illustrations - some of my favorite pages in the book are the ones where her illustrations have the space and subject to be the most dynamic, like the strawberry-and-pumpkins page, where the horizon seems to follow the twist of the wind, and the dandelion pages, where the little tufts become a giant spiral in the sky. Maybe it's a little greedy of me, but I wish there were more full- and two-page spreads in the book! Still, I can't say there's any skimping on illustrations.
If I could, I'd give it three-and-a-half stars; overall, I think it's sweet and will lead to many fun discussions with my girls.
What I don't love are the words - they seem disconnected and actually kind of lame. Too stream of consciousness for me - and I usually like stream of consciousness! When I read it the second or third time, I had a thought. It almost felt like the author was trying really, really hard to channel the exquisite A Hole is to Dig, but falling short...
I read the book to a room full of my restless 3 and 4 year old resters at school today. They seemed to love the entirety. Hmm. The descriptives they repeated again and again were "cool" and "swirly". My gut feeling is they were actually more into the illustrations than the words, particularly one of fireworks, and one children inside a tree. So as a storyteller in addition to a reader to young children, my inclination is to show them the pictures using my own words to convey the rather non-existent story...on the other hand, I feel guilty even considering that...after all, an author's work is hers to tell in her own way. I just wish I found Mary Lyn Ray's story as terrific as Frazee's accompaniment.
4 stars because of the kids' enjoyment, 3 if it was me alone.
This is a beautiful picture book, one that managed to be both sparsely written and rich in its language at the same time. The pairing of author Mary Lyn Ray and illustrator Marla Frazee (of the book ALL THE WORLD, which managed to snag both a Caldecott medal and a spot in Cheerio boxes everywhere) is brilliant. Together, they have managed to create something that is both simple and sublime.
STARS is a gentle story, grounded in realism, yet with touches of magic. Kids, their parents, and educators alike are sure to enjoy it.