Stars Above Us

Stars Above Us

5.0 1
by Geoffrey Norman, E. B. Lewis
     
 

A little girl and her soldier father find a way to be close even when he's away at war

Amanda is scared of the dark. But her dad can fix that. He shows Amanda all the wonderful things that live in the dark, like fireflies, crickets, and stars. And when her father has to go away, he even puts glowing paper stars on Amanda's bedroom ceiling, so she can look at

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Overview

A little girl and her soldier father find a way to be close even when he's away at war

Amanda is scared of the dark. But her dad can fix that. He shows Amanda all the wonderful things that live in the dark, like fireflies, crickets, and stars. And when her father has to go away, he even puts glowing paper stars on Amanda's bedroom ceiling, so she can look at their special star while he's away and know he's on the other side of the world looking at it too, and thinking of her.

Stars Above Us is an affecting, beautifully illustrated narrative tailor-made for children whofive ever lived without a parent.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
04/27/2015
In his first picture book, mystery writer Norman presents a leisurely told story about how a child deals with the absence of her soldier father. When Amanda is afraid of the dark, her father shows her the sights and sounds that make the darkness beautiful—such as fireflies, stars and crickets. And when her father is deployed half a world away, "Amanda would look at the Big Dipper and the North Star and think of him." Both author and artist neatly weave together repeated images of the stars, Amanda's new black lab, the blinking of fireflies, the sound of crickets and how a family copes with separation. Although Norman's language is sometimes awkward, Lewis's painterly illustrations shimmer with family love and warmth as he portrays the family's reunion at the airport and their first dinner together again. "It had been a long, long time since they had done this." After dinner Amanda shows her father his surprise—a room full of glow-in-the-dark fireflies and stars. A quiet, affirming tribute to the resilience of families. Ages 5—8. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
The stars above offer reassurance to those afraid of the dark. In this contemporary story, they also may comfort children whose parents have to leave them for military service. Amanda's father tries to show her that there are wonderful things out in the dark night, such as fireflies and the stars. He even puts glowing stars on her ceiling. He tells her that wherever he has to go, he and she can see the same North Star. He calls from overseas to tell her to wish, on the same star that he sees, that he will be home soon, and, of course, she does. Together she and her mother prepare a surprise for his return. They have added a moon, comets, and fireflies to cheer the dark in her room. Amanda is very happy and grateful that her father is home. Lewis visualizes this sentimental story in watercolor vignettes; and on single and double pages, filled with naturalistic, detailed settings and characters. Frequently, dark blue sets the stage for the white fireflies and stars in both Amanda's world and that of her faraway father. There is both peace and love evoked throughout. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—Amanda is afraid of the dark, so her father takes her outside one night to look up at the stars. Still, her room is dark and scary, so Daddy brings home paper and paint to make stars that glow in the dark and pastes them on her ceiling. When he goes away, he tells her that he will be able to see the North Star just as she can. He gives her a puppy called Bear, another name for the Big Dipper. Only when he calls from his military post on the other side of the world do readers understand that Amanda's fear of the dark masks a deeper fear for his safety. An unspecified length of time passes, Bear grows, and the family is reunited at last at the airport. Realistic watercolor illustrations, many of them dark and still, are strangely comforting. This quiet, hopeful book speaks especially to the children of military personnel serving abroad, though it will resonate with any child separated from a parent.—Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN
Kirkus Reviews
Norman's first picture book explores a child's fear of the dark as a manifestation of, and metaphor for, acute separation anxiety. Amanda's fear is handily ameliorated before her father's military deployment. The family decorates her bedroom ceiling with cut-and-painted, glow-in-the-dark stars. Daddy shows Amanda the North Star-both in the night sky and in her bedroom-and says, "When I am away, you can look at it and think of me." "On the last day before he went away," Daddy surprises Amanda (but, one hopes, not her mom) with a puppy. Norman's dialogue-rich narrative spans the deployment and includes Daddy's phone call from a remote desert camp. The accomplished Lewis's pictures disappoint, with depictions of Amanda and her parents lacking consistency. Even allowing for variations in light and a year's changes, the child's hair color, features and apparent age seem to waver from spread to spread. Despite the unfortunate visual shortcomings, this useful volume reassuringly examines the effect of military deployment on families. A flawed but welcome addition to the sparse cadre of trade titles on this topic. (Picture book. 5-8)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399247248
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
09/17/2009
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
AD380L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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