Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Stars

Stars
written by Mary Lyn Ray; illustrated by Marla Frazee
2011 (Beach Lane Books)
Source: Orange County Public Library

What if you could have a star? They shine like little silver eggs you could gather in a basket.

My youngest daughter and her best friend take great joy in discovering small wonders in the area between the woods and the playground at school. We planted a pine tree sprig (named Fred) in our yard that had been packed in sand from the school sandbox. It's easy to be cynical in this world, but when you spend time with kids like these, your level of optimism tends to rise. This youthful exuberance is overflowing in Stars. As expressed by author Mary Lyn Ray, the symbolism of a star for a young child comes in many forms. It is a comforting light in the dark night. A star is the possibility of a wish coming true. Stars are also manifested in many forms in the natural world. There are the white stars that become strawberries and the yellow stars on the vine that become pumpkins. Stars are magical whether in the sky or placed on our chest for achieving a goal.

The text and illustrations of Stars capture the many moods of childhood. There is the happiness of spending time with friends and the sadness of being alone on the swings. Marla Frazee's artwork is pitch perfect in reflecting the beauty of the stars and what they can mean to a child. A great writing activity to accompany this book would be to create a star booklet that contained student reflections on stars. There are also several examples of similes that could be used to teach figurative language. If you are looking for a special book to give to a primary teacher this season, Stars would be a nice choice.


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