Ladder to the Stars

Overview


A little girl makes a wish to dance with the stars. A star hears her wish, and soon a tree is growing in the little girl’s garden. 100 years later, it towers up to the sky, and the little girl is now an old, old lady. One night, she’s kept awake by the same star, who remembers her wish and invites her to come and dance. Despite her aching back and trembling limbs, the old lady begins to climb the tree.

This lovely, lyrical tale, perfectly complemented by Alison Jay’s exquisite ...

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Overview


A little girl makes a wish to dance with the stars. A star hears her wish, and soon a tree is growing in the little girl’s garden. 100 years later, it towers up to the sky, and the little girl is now an old, old lady. One night, she’s kept awake by the same star, who remembers her wish and invites her to come and dance. Despite her aching back and trembling limbs, the old lady begins to climb the tree.

This lovely, lyrical tale, perfectly complemented by Alison Jay’s exquisite illustrations, addresses a difficult subject in a poetic and optimistic way, opening the door to further discussion.

A young girl's wish to dance with a star is granted in her old age.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Puttock's (A Story for Hippo: A Book About Loss) gently crafted tale offers a child-centered approach to the sensitive theme of death. On her seventh birthday, a girl makes a wish to dance with a glittering star. Using language abundant with personification, Puttock explains how "the star turned cartwheels and told the moon about the little girl's wish" and the moon "wasted away to a splinter worrying about what to do." The accompanying illustration shows a now-crescent moon gathered with the star, sun and clouds to plot how they will grant the wish. Jay's (Picture This) buoyant paintings lend a nurturing, comfy feel in their geometrically shaped canvases of luxuriant royal blue skies and serenely smiling, slightly elongated characters. Her unique mix of abstract figures and realistic settings provide just the right backdrop for this spiritual theme. The heroine, on her 107th birthday, climbs a special tree that the celestial bodies planted as a stairway to the heavens, and the climactic painting conveys her exuberant dance with the beckoning star. While younger children may well enjoy this story at face value, older readers will draw the parallels with death and the transient nature of time. Tender in both words and pictures and nondenominational in nature, this multilayered tale will provoke lofty thoughts. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From The Critics
In this beautiful parable, a woman's wish to climb a special ladder to the stars is granted at the end of her long joyful life. These theme of the story encompasses the cycle of birth, growth, and death, and the bright colorful illustrations are particularly appealing. Although the topic could be sad, it is addressed in such a way that the reader will instead rejoice in life. 2001, Henry Holt and Company, $16.95. Ages 5 to 8. Reviewer: S. Latson SOURCE: Parent Council, September 2001 (Vol. 9, No. 1)
Children's Literature
This is a slender book with a slender story. A little girl sees a star dancing in the sky and wishes that she could dance with it. Rather ponderously the star, the moon, the wind and the sun collaborate to make her wish come true. The wind plants a seed in her garden. Time passes; the tree grows very tall. When the girl becomes an old woman of 107 years, she dies, climbs the tree laboriously to the sky and dances with the star forever. Alison Jay's serene pictures have a folk-like quality with lots of deep blue starry skies. Both author and illustrator live in England, where the book was originally published. Children who have lost an older relative or friend may find this tale comforting; others may just find it puzzling. Parents would need to decide if the story is appropriate for their own child and, if so, read it together, leaving plenty of time for discussion and reflection. 2001, Holt, $16.95. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-One hundred years after a seven-year-old makes a birthday wish to dance with the stars, they encourage her to climb up a magical tree specially grown for her journey to the heavens. Puttock's graceful descriptions include capering stars turning cartwheels and the old woman's head bumping "against the belly of midnight." This lyrical account of life's cycle will be grasped by mature readers, but even younger ones will value Jay's folk-art paintings that showcase contrasting palettes to depict warm earth and cool sky. This British team is well matched for understated elegance in word and illustration.-Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781845075125
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books
  • Publication date: 3/28/2006
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 10.40 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Simon Puttock was born in New Zealand, and traveled all over the world as a child. He now lives in Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, where he runs the children's department of Waterstone's Books. He has written several other books for young readers.

Alison Jay studied illustration at The London College of Printing. She lives in West London, England, and is the illustrator of a number of books for children.

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