Star Shapes

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Earthly animals gaze up at their constellation equivalents, each star bright with silver foil, in this handsomely illustrated paper-over-board book. Malone's (The Forest Child) still, shadowy gouache illustrations evoke the subtle patina of old copper or leather. While unified in color and style, the night scenes in each spread vary almost as much as they might by daylight: a desert lion is bathed in a cold celestial light; a curly-coated watch dog (observing Sirius, the Dog Star, as the horizon pales) is rendered with the simplicity of folk art; a hare glows white against a surrealistic landscape of luminous purples and blue-greens. The rhyming text holds no surprises; innocuous words link the scenes simply, as in those for the constellations of the Great Bear and the Wolf (or Ursa Major and Lupus): "In the twilight, brown bear growls./ In the forest, gray wolf howls." But the lyricism of the illustrations more than compensates. An appendix explains the history of star-gazing and tells a little about each constellation featured, including how to spot it. Ages 4-8. (Aug.)
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3--Foil stars glimmer in and around 12 lambently outlined animal shapes in this slight but pretty picture book of constellations. Ten stylized, atmospheric paintings, done in dusky blue and turquoise gouache, feature elegantly posed animals--a bear, a wolf, three whales, and the like--mostly in natural settings. As these creatures gaze up at their celestial counterparts, a rhyming text describes their actions. Malone makes a pretext of educating young stargazers with unsystematic notes at the end about some of the constellations' major stars and associated myths. However, since he mentions more constellations than he actually depicts, and randomly sprinkles extra stars around his examples that obscure their more visible markers, the book's strongest appeal is more generally visual. The special effect is more successful here than in Marcus Pfister's "Rainbow fish" books (North-South). Children who have not yet realized the link between stories and stars will find the idea more thoroughly articulated in Leonard Everett Fisher's Star Signs (Holiday, 1983; o.p.) or H. A. Rey's classic Find the Constellations (Houghton, 1976).--John Peters, New York Public Library
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811807265
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
  • Publication date: 8/1/1997
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.83 (w) x 11.34 (h) x 0.37 (d)

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