My Friend, the Starfinder

( 2 )


a little girl ...
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a little girl listens
to her old neighbor's story
of following a falling star
when he was a boy.

He found it, too.
He put it in her hands.

But that's not all
the starfinder has to tell.

One day something
found him.

It's a story
too good to keep.

See for yourself.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Stories and the people who tell them form one of the main themes of much of Lyon's poetic work, and this sumptuously illustrated book, perhaps Gammell's finest, is no exception. The narrator begins conversationally, "Once there was a old man./ I knew him/ when I was no bigger than you are." Working in his distinctive style, Gammell (previously paired with Lyon for Come a Tide) spatters a universe of colors across the page as the child dances with the man, who tells stories on his green porch. "For starters," the girl says, "he told me once/ he saw a star falling." The color illustrations give way to black-and-white paintings that convey an astonishing degree of light. The illustrations morph back into full color as the old man puts the star in the girl's hands-"glassy, blackish green/ like puddles around a coal pile." Lyon never lets readers forget that this is a story they are reading: "Now he couldn't bring home/ the rainbow/ the way he did the star./ But when he told the story/ holding out his hand/ I could feel the colors./ I could see it was true./ And how he would have to tell it/ just like I'm telling you." Text and art are sure to evoke wonder in young readers. Ages 4-7. (Feb.)

Copyright 2007Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Carolyn Mott Ford
The wonderful illustrations, presented in pastel, watercolor, colored pencil, and gouache, bring to life the characters in this heartwarming story. An old man, wearing old clothes, sitting in an old chair on an old green porch, tells stories. A young girl likes to listen to the stories and is quite taken with his tale of catching a falling star. One evening, the old man insists, he saw the star and followed it through the field. "It was warm and smooth as an egg straight from the hen." He still had the dark green star and he gave it to the girl. He also told her how he once was at the end of the rainbow where he was washed in colors. The little girl could feel those colors when she held his hand, and that is when she knew he was telling the truth, and so she continued to tell the story just as he had told it to her. The author based the starfinder in her book on an elderly neighbor who told her the story about catching the falling star. Reviewer: Carolyn Mott Ford
School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2- A story told in evocative free verse and graced with exuberant watercolors. A girl begins her narration when she was "no bigger than you are." She describes an old man who sits "in an old chair/on an old green porch" and tells tales of the time he found a falling star, and when he went for a walk and wound up at the end of the rainbow. The child feels certain that the outlandish stories must all be true. Where the text is restrained, the illustrations fairly holler with light and joy. During each of the Starfinder's stories, the palette begins with hushed expectation in black and white, gradually adding colors until the whole page is glowing. This is not to belie the power of Lyon's spare text-it is only in the tension between the carefully chosen words and vivid pictures that the stories' magic emerges. A lovely collaboration.-Rachael Vilmar, Eastern Shore Regional Library, MD

Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Lyon's sensitive tale, spun from a childhood memory, is doubly ruminative: Its female narrator relates two boyhood reminiscences told her by an elderly neighbor. In the first, as a boy, he follows a falling star far afield. He finds it, "warm and smooth / as an egg straight from the hen." He shows it to the narrator, who "held it tight / trying to feel its journey." The second musing finds the amazed boy drenched with the light pooling at the end of a rainbow. Gammell's characteristic mixed-media pictures fully develop Lyon's themes of cosmic and earthly connection. Planets glimmer throughout, and pentangular star motifs figure in every spread, whether in tree bark, patched clothing or cloud shadows. The elder's boyhood adventures are depicted in a miasma of grays accented with the glowing colors of star and rainbow. Gammell emphasizes the joyous interplay between the narrator (in oversized, peacock-green cap) and her shiny-pated friend by suffusing both with reflected, prismatic light. An author's note fondly commemorates the real starfinder. Lovely. (Picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416927389
  • Publisher: Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books
  • Publication date: 2/5/2008
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Lexile: AD650L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 11.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

George Ella Lyon is the author of Trucks Roll! and Planes Fly! Now, Boats Float!, cowritten with her son Benn, adds a new mode of transport to this travel series. Among George Ella’s other books are the ALA Notable All the Water in the World and What Forest Knows. A novelist and poet, she lives with her family in Lexington, Kentucky. Visit her online at

Stephen Gammell is the beloved illustrator of more than fifty books for children, including Song and Dance Man by Karen Ackerman, which received the Caldecott Medal, and two Caldecott Honor Books: The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant, Where the Buffaloes Begin by Olaf Baker, and The Secret Science Project That Almost Ate Our School by Judy Sierra. Mr. Gammell lives with his wife, Linda, in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer


    Not only is this imaginative story a reminder of the wonders of our universe but perhaps most importantly it's the story of a friendship between a small girl and an elderly man. Thus, it is a reminder of what one generation can learn from another and a picture of the unique warmth of their camaraderie. George Ella Lyon has dedicated this book to the memory of George Dean, the real life starfinder who once lived across the street in a house Lyon's grandfather had built. Just as he's shown in Stephen Gammell's arresting full page watercolor illustrations the author describes him as 'tall, thin, kind, and bespectacled.' While his appearance seems ordinary, his experiences were most extraordinary and when he tells about them you believe him - almost. This is a delightful tale that will not only pique the interest of young readers but also raise questions which may result in fruitful conversations between parent and child. - Gail Cooke

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2008

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