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by Alexa Kril & illustrated by Alexa Kril & developed by Sebastian Eberlein

Age Range: 5 - 10

Pub Date: Dec. 11th, 2013
Publisher: Alexa Kril

In what feels like a diminutive creation tale of old, young psychopomp Finnley finds himself ushering in a whole new star.

Finnley is charged with ushering the souls (in the shape of bouncy black balls) of Earthland through a seemingly abandoned, possibly but not necessarily grim wilderness to the Gate, an elevator to take the souls upward and transform them into stars. The souls are led to the Gate by the light of Finnley’s crook, for otherwise all is penumbral: a deep sapphire-blue sky, the landscape in shadow. It’s a pretty lonely life. After one soul eschews the Gate and instead flies into Finnley’s crook, a wolf named Sirius appears. Sirius soon becomes Finnley’s herding companion—those souls have minds of their own—and friend. Tragedy strikes, but it’s the kind of tragedy that has profound, beneficial cosmological ramifications—bright as a supernova. The story is low-key if arbitrary in a folkloric kind of way, the spooky more beguiling than not, and the writing, an amusing blend of modern idiom and heightened language. There is no interaction beyond page turns, but the souls bounce gently, and the music and narration are both well-suited to the tale.

A contemporary piece of ancientness, suitable to be passed around the campfire or the bedside. (iPad storybook app. 5-10)