STARS ABOVE US by Geoffrey Norman


by , illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 8
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Norman’s first picture book explores a child’s fear of the dark as a manifestation of, and metaphor for, acute separation anxiety. Amanda’s fear is handily ameliorated before her father’s military deployment. The family decorates her bedroom ceiling with cut-and-painted, glow-in-the-dark stars. Daddy shows Amanda the North Star—both in the night sky and in her bedroom—and says, “When I am away, you can look at it and think of me.” “On the last day before he went away,” Daddy surprises Amanda (but, one hopes, not her mom) with a puppy. Norman’s dialogue-rich narrative spans the deployment and includes Daddy’s phone call from a remote desert camp. The accomplished Lewis’s pictures disappoint, with depictions of Amanda and her parents lacking consistency. Even allowing for variations in light and a year’s changes, the child’s hair color, features and apparent age seem to waver from spread to spread. Despite the unfortunate visual shortcomings, this useful volume reassuringly examines the effect of military deployment on families. A flawed but welcome addition to the sparse cadre of trade titles on this topic. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-399-24724-8
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2009


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