Star of the Sea: A Day in the Life of a Starfish

Overview

With the ocean her home, an ochre sea star hunts for her morning meal.  She folds over her rays and grips the rocky shore with sticky feet as she feasts on shellfish.  When she takes too long, the tide flows back without her and Sea Star becomes easy prey.  But she is built to survive and eventually makes her way back to the sea, although with one less ray than before.  This inspiring story informs young children about the important role of a small but ...

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Overview

With the ocean her home, an ochre sea star hunts for her morning meal.  She folds over her rays and grips the rocky shore with sticky feet as she feasts on shellfish.  When she takes too long, the tide flows back without her and Sea Star becomes easy prey.  But she is built to survive and eventually makes her way back to the sea, although with one less ray than before.  This inspiring story informs young children about the important role of a small but fascinating sea creature.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Poetic verse and vibrant collages characterize this tribute to starfish. Halfmann treats her heroine as an almost epic figure as the sea star ventures in search of food. "Like a circus acrobat, she folds over two of her rays and grips the rocky shore with her sticky feet." The starfish gorges herself on mussels before falling victim to a seagull's attack; thanks to her regenerative abilities, though, she'll live to hunt another day. In rich colors and textures, Paley's tide pool hums with life, while an afterword provides more scientific information about this echinoderm. Ages 5–9. (May)
From the Publisher
“Beautifully illustrated with textured collages made from hand-painted papers of watercolor blends, the underwater environment is vividly brought to life on every page.” –School Library Journal

"Joan Paley's bright, blocky collages of the ochre sea star, brick-colored with a lacy pattern on its back, have a cheerful feel, and readers ages 5-9 will probably be inclined to side with the star as it travels the ocean floor repelling enemies and looking for tasty things to eat.” -Wall Street Journal

"Paley’s beautiful artwork consists of collages of hand-painted papers of watercolor blends and textures." –Kirkus Reviews

“Poetic verse and vibrant collages characterize this tribute to starfish.” –Publishers Weekly

School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—This colorful overview explains how the species is tied to tidal rhythms and serves both as predator and potential prey. After an unsuccessful attempt to feed on a limpet, the sea star settles atop a mussel and begins the slow process of wearing out its strength. After prying open the shell just a crack, she extends her stomach into it and ingests the mussel's body. Having escaped a fish's earlier attempt to eat her, the sea star is not so lucky when a gull snatches her by one ray and flies off. The gull bites through the ray, and the sea star falls back to the shore with only four rays. She reaches safety under some seaweed and will hide until the next high tide when the search for food begins again. Beautifully illustrated with textured collages made from hand-painted papers of watercolor blends, the underwater environment is vividly brought to life on every page. Two pages of concluding facts offer more about the sea star, including its ability to regenerate lost rays and other body parts. A short list of recommended reading and a four-entry glossary are also appended. A first purchase.—Frances E. Millhouser, formerly at Chantilly Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
We follow an ochre sea star of the Pacific coast as she rides the high tide to shore to hunt mussels. All around her she passes the other inhabitants of the tidal waters: snails, anemones, and crabs. She tries in vain to grasp a limpet, and escapes a fish. Reaching the mussel bed, the star cracks the shells, puts her stomach inside, then liquefies and eats the mussels. She hurries back to the sea in the outgoing morning tide, but too late. Uncovered on the dry shore, she is snatched up into the sky by a seagull. When the bird bites off a ray, the star is able to drop and hide in a crack until the tide returns. She will hunt with four rays until the other grows back. Paley creates convincing double-page scenes of the starfish's underwater home. Using collage shapes she has hand painted with watercolors, she builds the rocky environment and adds seaweed, mussels, and other fish. The focus is on the sea star, as we learn about her life in an attractive setting. More facts are added, along with a bibliography and a glossary. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—This colorful overview explains how the species is tied to tidal rhythms and serves both as predator and potential prey. After an unsuccessful attempt to feed on a limpet, the sea star settles atop a mussel and begins the slow process of wearing out its strength. After prying open the shell just a crack, she extends her stomach into it and ingests the mussel's body. Having escaped a fish's earlier attempt to eat her, the sea star is not so lucky when a gull snatches her by one ray and flies off. The gull bites through the ray, and the sea star falls back to the shore with only four rays. She reaches safety under some seaweed and will hide until the next high tide when the search for food begins again. Beautifully illustrated with textured collages made from hand-painted papers of watercolor blends, the underwater environment is vividly brought to life on every page. Two pages of concluding facts offer more about the sea star, including its ability to regenerate lost rays and other body parts. A short list of recommended reading and a four-entry glossary are also appended. A first purchase.—Frances E. Millhouser, formerly at Chantilly Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA
Kirkus Reviews
An introduction to the ochre sea star, a Pacific coast variety. Halfmann appropriately focuses on sea stars' more amazing adaptations—sticky tube feet, a stomach that can be extruded from its body and the ability to regenerate its rays. Children follow along as one sea star uses the night's high tide to reach the shore, where the mussel beds and her next meal lie. Along the way, she uses her tube feet to right herself after a wave flips her, works to pry apart some mussels, eats her fill and narrowly escapes a hungry seagull. Unfortunately, the author misses some great opportunities to introduce vocabulary. Backmatter includes a diagram of a sea star, resources for finding out more, a four-word glossary and two pages of extensive additional information about sea stars. Paley's beautiful artwork consists of collages of hand-painted papers of watercolor blends and textures. While the colors and textures are truly evocative of the ocean setting, the illustrations fall a bit short in terms of scientific detail. The text mentions (without naming) the madreporite, the opening in the top of the starfish that allows it to take in water and power its tube feet, but the light-colored, off-center circle that marks this spot is missing in the illustration. This combines with the lack of scientific vocabulary to keep this from being a solid resource, but it could serve to spark further interest. (Informational picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805090734
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 5/24/2011
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 569,657
  • Age range: 5 - 7 Years
  • Lexile: AD800L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Janet Halfmann has written many books about the natural world such as, Hermit Crab’s Home and Little Skink’s Tail. She lives in South Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her husband, Tom.

 

Joan Paley is the illustrator of many successful books for children including Unbeatable Beaks, The Emperor Lays an Egg, and Little White Duck. She lives in North Scituate, Massachusetts.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 20, 2012

    Lovely book!!

    My grandson, who is 4, absolutely loved. Wonderful story!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 12, 2011

    Beautiful!

    There are always a few special books you can't bear to part with even after your children are grown. Star of the Sea is one of those books. I recently received a copy to review, and now I can't wait to read it to my students when school starts again.

    This large, 10 X 10 hardcover picture book is a feast for the eyes. The illustrator, Joan Paley, used textured collages made from hand-painted watercolor papers. This story follows an ochre sea star throughout its day, while we learn about its anatomy, what it eats, its predators, and more.

    The publisher's website suggests Star of the Sea for children ages 5-9, but I think it would also be great for older children. After the entertaining story there are three pages of detailed information about sea stars, including a glossary and a labeled diagram of the anatomy.

    Young children 'learn to read,' but it's never to early to teach them how to 'read to learn' as well. I know my students will enjoy responding to the text with their own diagrams, or perhaps pictures labeling predators and prey, or the life cycle of the sea star's eggs.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own

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