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My Friend, the Starfinder Hardcover – February 5, 2008
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Lyon and Gammell, the duo responsible for the memorable Come a Tide (1990), take on more feats of nature as a girl listens to a neighbor tell how, when he was a boy, he met up with a star and rainbow. Using his signature color washes for the parts of the story set in the present, Gammell moves to shades of gray when the story goes back in time. When the boy spots a star shooting across the sky, he follows it. He picks up the rock, which glints with gold, and keeps it until, as an adult, he gives it to the girl. Another time, the boy, lifted into the sky, starts turning colors—purple, red, green, yellow; he’s at the end of a rainbow. He can’t bring the rainbow home, of course, but he can tell the story. Lyon’s prose is lyrical as always (“cool / warm / striped / air”), though why she describes the comet as smooth as an egg (it is jagged in the picture) is unclear. Gammell’s energetic art, a mix of precise lines and hue-soaked swirls and shapes, captures both the everyday and the otherworldiness of the story. That said, some odd choices have been made here. By never showing the Starfinder’s adult face, the character seems strange, even menacing. Then there’s the abrupt ending, though an afterword helps finish the story. Despite the picture-book format, this isn’t for preschoolers, and even older children, who may be drawn by the dreamy premise played out in the evocative art, may be confused by the goings-on. Grades K-2. --Ilene Cooper
About the Author
George Ella Lyon is the author of Trucks Roll! and Planes Fly! Now, Boats Float!, cowritten with her son Benn, adds a new mode of transport to this travel series. Among George Ella’s other books are the ALA Notable All the Water in the World and What Forest Knows. A novelist and poet, she lives with her family in Lexington, Kentucky. Visit her online at GeorgeEllaLyon.com.