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A WAY TO THE STARS by David Almond Kirkus Star


by David Almond ; illustrated by Gill Smith

Pub Date: Nov. 7th, 2023
ISBN: 9781536231250
Publisher: Candlewick

A loving father supports his son’s desire to soar among the stars.

Joe’s bedroom shows the signs of a budding astronomer/determined engineer: a toy rocket, a solar system mobile, a sketchbook of transport ideas. His buddies laugh at him: “In your dreams!” His dad, however, suggests they “have a think” when he finishes hanging the laundry on the clothesline. The mixed-media scenes of this close-knit pair exude cozy, comfortable warmth on a fall day. They are both pale-skinned and sport black hair. They work on flight plans and implementation together; risk-taking is not impeded by another adult in the home. Dad catches his son when he falls from a tree and propels the cardboard rocket ferrying Joe from a homemade seesaw into a leaf pile. Almond’s trim text—with enough repetition and simplicity to engage emerging readers—leaves space for Smith’s narrative contributions. As the duo keeps trying (a trampoline, taped-on wings, a cannon), the fun grows. When his father asks if Joe is ready to give up, it’s now the protagonist who says, “In your dreams.” And that is how they eventually achieve their goal. After painting a marvelous skyscape, father and son fall asleep and, in their dreams, they “danced among the stars.” The palette has shifted from warm compositions to cool midnight blues.

An uplifting story featuring a child with big dreams and playful, responsive parenting.

(Picture book. 4-7)