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The North Star Hardcover – April 14, 2009

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; Library Binding edition (April 14, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763636770
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763636777
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,192 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 2–4—This well-meaning and thoughtful book showcases charming ink and watercolor illustrations; it is also somewhat derivative. The narrative opens, "A sweet breeze met the boy as he awoke to his journey. He traveled on all fours for quite some time…and he grew. And he paused." These lines are very soothing and accompanied by pictures that show a baby staring out from under a tree, crawling through some grass, and sitting cross-legged meditatively. Then the lengthy story meanders as the boy follows a rabbit down a path, wonders about a leaf and the stars, and meets a cat who advises him to start his journey so he won't "be left behind." The child replies, "Oh, but I have been on a journey…I've seen many wonderful things. Some I understand, and some I don't…like how that leaf floats on the water." The child continues his travels, meeting other animals who give advice and make pronouncements about the journey of life, a frog concluding that he is content to stay in his bog where he swam as a tadpole and grew into an adult. These philosophical musings, while simply stated, are unlikely to find a wide audience.—Kirsten Cutler, Sonoma County Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Everyone will fall in love with The North Star, as I have. It is an inspired fable about our journey through life...and the pleasures to conform that are exerted on dreams when they run counter to the expectations to society. It is a book for those who know, or will eventually realize that what they are doing is not what, in their heart of hearts, they want to do. It is for parents and other educators who seek to develop the unique potential they see in every child. And, with its utterly magical illustrations, it will enthrall the children too. If only every individual could find and follow his or her own star and be encouraged to do so. How different the world would be. The North Star moves us in that direction. -- Dr. Jane Goodall, Scientific Director The Jane Goodall Institute --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 28 customer reviews
The illustrations are cute and whimsical.
It had been a few years since I read a book by Peter H. Reynolds, when his book Ish came to mind.
Steven R. McEvoy
The book is fantastic for children and adults.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I'm an "ability focused" disability awareness educator and I've adopted The North Star and its messages into my work with students for the past several years. With its messages of self-acceptance and acceptance of diversity, The North Star has been a natural companion for my own goals of helping students develop a greater appreciation of individual differences and abilities. This is a gift we all deserve, no matter what our age... no matter what obstacles we face in life.
Besides the success I've had with The North Star in the classroom, it also has great meaning to me on a personal level. As someone living with a lifelong respiratory disability, reading The North Star for the first time felt like someone was smiling at me, and nodding... confirming and celebrating the person I am and the unique life I've led, and it made me believe it is the kind of life I want to continue leading.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Lovely Lady on January 21, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book could very well awaken you, help you find your inner self and redirect you toward your guiding star - your life's work and dream. This book can be the start of a new outlook in life. Read this book and refocus...you may find it touches you like no other book has. It has done this for me.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By ChristineMM TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Peter Reynolds is a children's book author and illustrator who also owns a bookshop, and also is an "educational media developer and publisher". He formerly worked with special needs children at camp and worked in the classroom with children as well.

This lovely book is designed picture book style, with one or two illustrations on each two-page spread. The illustrations are in pen and watercolor paint. The story is told largely through the illustrations. The book could be read to young children but it is also a book with a message for people of all ages. The message is one that preteens and teens need to hear also, but I'm not sure if they would be willing to read through a book that is as cute as this, and looks and reads like a picture book.

The story is a fable with a pretty direct message. The message is that the world has a one right way path laid out for people, but that not all people thrive on this path and some will find great rewards by intentionally leaving that routine path to follow their own intuition, and watching for other, more subtle sign points along the way. By deliberately ignoring some direct orders, the little boy in the story makes some unique discoveries that he would not have experienced if he just stayed on the normal path. Also of benefit is changing course along the way, being flexible and open to change as the process of the journey unfolds. This book is not about pre-planning, setting routines and doing what others want you to do. It is about going with the flow, putting aside analysis and worry and just continuing forward along a not-always-predetermined path.

Not only is this message good for children to hear, but it is good for adults to remind themselves about too.
Read more ›
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56 of 70 people found the following review helpful By William Cleary on August 23, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Review of The North Star by Peter Reynolds
A True Story
My smart friend Jane read The North Star and said: "It's a dumb book." I looked at her quizzically. I began to notice how straight she sat, how straight she dressed. She had no children. "It's about something very rare," I said. "Something wonderful but all too rare." Now Jane looked at me quizzically. "Unconventional children," I said. Her quizzicality grew. "And that's all of them," I added. Jane's eyes lit up, her jaw dropped a little. She said, "Oh." I started to explain but she is smart and didn't need me to tell -- about children who get those double-messages that appear on almost every page of The North Star, the wooden sign telling you to turn right, then below it a maddening little arrow pointing left. "Girl children get a ton of double-messages. Children in poverty get them, children in privilege. The messages about sex leave no room for homosexuality, for domestic violence, for exploitation. No wonder children grow up feeling lost. Who wouldn't love to read this book to kids everywhere?" "You're so right," said smart Jane. "Why didn't I see it?" "Maybe you've become conventional, Jane. Did you ever find your own North Star?" The quizzicality returned. "In the book the lost boy stops following the conventional signs when he discovers his North Star - surrounded by his very own constellation. That's just his true calling in life, surrounded by all his strengths and talents. It leads him back home: to himself, to an original self." "How wonderful," said smart Jane, tears standing in her eyes. #
William Cleary August 23, l999
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sonja VINE VOICE on March 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My daughter is three and a half, and as she gets older, her quirky nature reveals itself more and more. I bought this book based on the reviews that it supported alternative ways of being, and I was not disappointed. Since this version didn't have a "closer look" option, I wasn't sure what I was getting but bought it anyway. Knowing that other Peter Reynolds books are written for little kids, I thought this might be something I could read to my daughter. The illustrations are child-friendly and there's only a sentence or two per page, so I took a stab at reading it to her. But at 120 pages, it's a bit long for her. She made it about half way through before I could tell that her attention was shifting. Besides, it's an allegory, and at 3.5 years old, she's still pretty concrete in her interpretations of texts. But even though she's probably too young for it still, I love it, and I look forward to reading it again and again. One of these days, I hope my daughter will appreciate it, too.

Thank you, Mr. Reynolds, for such a wonderful, beautiful, and thoughtful little book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews

More About the Author

Welcome, friends. Thank you for the tremendous support of my work which includes books I have written and illustrated, as well as collaborations, like Someday with Alisan McGhee and the Judy Moody series with Megan McDonald. My children's media company, FableVision, located in Boston, is dedicated to crafting "stories that matter, stories that move." My twin brother, Paul, and I founded an independent bookshop in Dedham Square, MA called The Blue Bunny.

Much of my work is designed to inspire all of us to navigate our true potential - to be brave, original, inspirational, inspired, and active.

My hope is that my work will also inspire YOU to make YOUR mark - and see where it takes you.

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