By: Deborah Stevenson
Illustrated by: Stella Mongodi
Publication Date: October 11, 2022
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: November 25, 2022
Author Deborah Stevenson’s newest book literally reaches for the stars as she brings constellations to life in the beautifully illustrated and engaging book Connecting the Stars.
What child (or adult!) hasn’t looked up at the sky and wished upon a star? It’s a natural human desire to wonder about the vast, unexplored depths of space. Indeed, humans have been wondering about the stars and creating stories around the constellations for thousands of years, and this book shares, in perfect poetic form, the tales behind some of those stars.
The first several pages of Connecting the Stars introduces children to the amazing light show awaiting them when they turn their gazes to the stars.
Some with names and some unknown,
Each tiny star appears alone.
Look closer and you might unveil
a constellation’s timeless tale.
Get ready for astonishing tales of creatures big and small and stories that date back countless generations. The first constellation readers are introduced to is Corvus, the Raven, and we learn why this mysterious bird is always black. Next we meet a clever fox and then we are introduced to Drago the Dragon, a prized pet of the god Zeus:
The dragon swore he’d faithfully,
guard Zeus and Hera’s apple tree.
This wedding gift, with fruit of gold,
was coveted by young and old.
The poem goes on to tell how Heracles came to steal the tree and while Draco tried courageously to stop him, the dragon failed, and the tree was stolen. Still, to honor his attempt to protect the tree, Hera sent him up into the sky. The accompanying artwork, of a stunning dragon encircling the apple tree while a young girl rides him, goes beyond being “just” a beautiful drawing. The dragon in the drawing mirrors the constellation Draco, with the stars of the dragon brightly lit and a line connecting all the stars of the constellation together so young readers can easily make out the outline of the dragon within the stars.
Turn the page and another gorgeous illustration awaits, this time of Pavo, The Peacock. Hera, always jealous and suspecting, sent a spy to watch her husband Zeus. But what happened? And how did the peacock get all those “eyes” on its feathers? Get ready for some really cool stories on constellations that humans have been gazing at for thousands of years.
The merging of author Deborah Stevenson’s great imagination and mastery of simple poetic stories for children with the stunning artwork of Stella Maris makes Connecting the Stars a children’s book that really needs to be on every child’s bookshelf. Every page is a treat for the eyes and the poems are informative and fun! The constellations featured are not all visible from one spot on Earth, but rather, some can be seen from the northern hemisphere while others are seen from the southern hemisphere. And the children featured in the tales also, like the stories, show the diversity of the world while also showing how we are all alike. To quote the famous poet Maya Angelou (quoted in the book), "We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike." Bravo!
Quill says: This is definitely one of the best children’s books I’ve read all year - full of imagination and incredible artwork that will engage and educate readers.
For more information on Connecting the Stars, please visit the author's website at: www.frogprincebooks.net/
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