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TOP 50 REVIEWERon September 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Being a former elementary art teacher, who often used books to begin classroom lessons, I can see the educational value of this simple, but delightful book on STARS. It goes beyond the heavenly or galaxy meaning, offering the shape and other items found in the world that reflect the star qualities. That is a mind stretcher for children age 3 through 9. They need that mental encouragement. With this book on the home shelf, parents and grandparents can take a hand in the advancement of ways to see beyond the obvious in nature and science. It is a multi-curricular book.

The cover, with exception of the title word, is one of the full page pictures on the inside of this book. The art illustrations are a watercolor form with a graphite drawing added once dry. More of an art style than a cartoon look. It is a professional and child-pleasing form to deliver the story. It's the quality one would expect from a book division of Simon and Schuster. Will this become another Caldecott award winner from book illustrator Marla Frazee?

The children represented in the story's drawings are generic enough that one does not have to deal with nationality or ethnic issues. They are just kids, and they find stars in all kinds of wonderful places that offer opportunities to talk with a child listener. What else might they see there? Where else can a star shape be found? These are learning questions perfect for Dad, Nana, Sister, or teacher to present to a child reading for themselves, or being read to, depending upon age. The large 8.5 x 12.5 size gives the book added wonderment to young children.

It states there is an ebook edition available, but for my money, I'd vote on the real deal. It comes with a hard cover with the colored cover drawing PLUS a dust jacket that has the cover child and title slightly embossed.

A good gift idea of a child, or for a family of children, as this story is ageless and will be appropriate as long as the stars are in the sky. Grandparents, like me, should have one ready on their home self, as it's a quick read for grandkids, not requiring a l-o-n-g attention span. And if you know an early elementary teacher, they could use it in class, and will thank you for the resource material. Most teachers have to buy these type of books for their own classroom, I know! Get one to have your child give as a teacher's gift. No special occasion is necessary.
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on October 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a great little book that is a celebration of, well, stars. As the book says stars are like your best rock, but different because stars are different than rocks. That's just simple good advice. Its a quick read but it has a great story to it. My three year old loves "star book" we read it every night - multiple times. The illustrations compliment the story very nicely too.

Children books are always hard for me to review it seems like because they are so short - but this one has great illustrations and a great little story to it. It made my daughter want to go to the store to buy scissors and shiny paper so she could have a star for her pocket too. That means she's listening.

Great book.
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VINE VOICEon September 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm a fan of Marla Frazee's illustrations - All the World and especially Everywhere Babies - so I eagerly anticipated receiving Stars through Amazon Vine.

My initial impression is that while it's not my favorite of the three Frazee books I've read, it's a sweet addition to my daughters' library (my oldest is almost two and a half), and I look forward to reading it often with them.

I like that the print in the book is handwriting - that, combined with the many pages of children on mostly white backgrounds, reminded me a little of Malika Fouchier's Lala.

I also like that the characters have cute and distinctive outfits - little red cowboy boots, three pigtails, striped leggings. This might make the book seem slightly dated in years to come, but that's not a bad thing.

I like the simple story and the idea - one simple subject, elaborated. It's particularly good for my two-and-a-half year old, who is at the age where it's still a wonder to her that the same word can have so many different meanings, and where she's beginning to make obvious word associations and participate in conversations. A few days after getting sick from being spun "so fast" on a swing, I told her I would cut her nails "so fast" - and she warned me, "I might throw up...").

I love Frazee's playful, swirly, rolling illustrations - some of my favorite pages in the book are the ones where her illustrations have the space and subject to be the most dynamic, like the strawberry-and-pumpkins page, where the horizon seems to follow the twist of the wind, and the dandelion pages, where the little tufts become a giant spiral in the sky. Maybe it's a little greedy of me, but I wish there were more full- and two-page spreads in the book! Still, I can't say there's any skimping on illustrations.

If I could, I'd give it three-and-a-half stars; overall, I think it's sweet and will lead to many fun discussions with my girls.
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VINE VOICEon September 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
You know how sometimes you try a dish, and think to yourself, Gosh - that looked delectable, but I wish instead of pepper, the cook had used paprika...Maybe I'll try to make it myself? So. I love the darling illustrations Marla Frazee created for Stars - their rich yet delicate colors and detail. I love the size of the book - a bit taller than ordinary at 8 x 12, though still easy to hold when reading to a group of children, while still being a great size to let the art really shine. I love the handwritten font.

What I don't love are the words - they seem disconnected and actually kind of lame. Too stream of consciousness for me - and I usually like stream of consciousness! When I read it the second or third time, I had a thought. It almost felt like the author was trying really, really hard to channel the exquisite A Hole is to Dig, but falling short...

I read the book to a room full of my restless 3 and 4 year old resters at school today. They seemed to love the entirety. Hmm. The descriptives they repeated again and again were "cool" and "swirly". My gut feeling is they were actually more into the illustrations than the words, particularly one of fireworks, and one children inside a tree. So as a storyteller in addition to a reader to young children, my inclination is to show them the pictures using my own words to convey the rather non-existent story...on the other hand, I feel guilty even considering that...after all, an author's work is hers to tell in her own way. I just wish I found Mary Lyn Ray's story as terrific as Frazee's accompaniment.

4 stars because of the kids' enjoyment, 3 if it was me alone.
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on February 9, 2014
I am a children's librarian, but I had my daughter be the first to read this book. She can't stop talking about how unfortunate it is. It could have been a good story. The author could have allowed the children their imagination to reach the stars, instead, at the beginning of the story, she tells the story of the harsh reality that you can't really have a star. "Except you know you can't. Not really." Then she talks about making a wand out of a star and seeing a wish come true. "Not always. Only sometimes." I think Mary Lyn Rae missed an opportunity to bring wonder into the lives of children, instead of a harsh reality and a book that didn't follow a pattern. The illustrations were nice.
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on September 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
"A star is how you know it's almost night... And the dark that comes doesn't feel so star." But a star is also in a sheriff's badge, a fairy's wand, a spring flower. A star is something you can share, or keep for yourself, for your best days or your down days. In short, stars -- in all their quiet glory -- are everywhere.

This is a beautiful picture book, one that managed to be both sparsely written and rich in its language at the same time. The pairing of author Mary Lyn Ray and illustrator Marla Frazee (of the book ALL THE WORLD, which managed to snag both a Caldecott medal and a spot in Cheerio boxes everywhere) is brilliant. Together, they have managed to create something that is both simple and sublime.

STARS is a gentle story, grounded in realism, yet with touches of magic. Kids, their parents, and educators alike are sure to enjoy it.
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VINE VOICEon October 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Caldecott Honor winner Marla Frazee has teamed up with Mary Lyn Ray to charm children and adults alike with thoughts about stars. The cover illustration is a wash of many blues from pale to purple. There is a small girl stretching a basket to catch twinkly stars cascading down.

The authors begin by acknowledging that stars cannot be captured, then suggesting that a child can fashion a cut paper star and tuck it in her pocket for safekeeping. This star can be used for make-believe, wish-making, given in friendship, or, as a sort of talisman, to cheer herself on a gloomy day. There are pages that invite the child to observe star shapes in nature (pumpkin flowers, snowflakes), or to create a swish of "stars" by blowing on a dandelion. There are mentions of star shapes in the material world on buttons and special calendar days, and ending with a return to the night sky. Children get into pajamas and a girl walks with an adult to a two-page spread of many children and their families quietly huddled together and gazing toward the heavens. The next page explodes in fireworks but the end message reminds the reader that actual stars are out every night, every where.

While the children in this book all seem to be wearing typical U.S. clothing, their faces and skin tones are multicultural, so children will find themselves as well as friends and acquaintances. The illustrations have soft watercolor shading. Visually I think this is a beautiful book. The message is soft: stars are out there, let's notice them together, you can hold some of the "specialness" of them by observing the world and/or by making one to keep in your pocket.
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VINE VOICEon September 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I really love this book, and so does my three-year-old. What a lovely little book about stars - what they can be used for, where they can be found (in snowflakes and pumpkin blossoms, for example), and why they are wonderful. The illustrations are beautiful. This book had found a place on our shelf of favorites!
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VINE VOICEon September 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
What a delightful book! This new offering by the author of All the World encourages imagination and creative play for children of all ages and fosters a magical view of the world. My son, my husband, and I all find this book to be quite enchanting and well worth having in our library.
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on October 7, 2012
I intend to ask every one of my child's teachers to sign a book and then give it as a graduation gift, and this is the winner. The literal meaning of the words paint pictures of childhood moments and describe the seasons; the message is - you can (usually) find stars everywhere. What makes the book even more beautiful is that the examples and illustrations indicate a deeper meaning to the story without entirely defining that meaning. With simple text the story uses stars as symbols for different things and it allows the reader to draw conclusions about the important things in life and realize individual values. Hopefully, my future graduate will find many truths (stars) in this book, like I do every time I read it. "stars that come with the night... You need some dark to see them."
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