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WHAT STAR IS THIS? by Joseph Slate


by Joseph Slate & illustrated by Alison Jay

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-399-24014-4
Publisher: Putnam

The author of the Miss Bindergarten series turns his attention to the Christmas star in this creative explanation for the stellar phenomenon that led the Wise Men and the shepherds to Bethlehem. In just a few lines of simple, rhyming text, Slate introduces the concept of comets, with one particular comet blasting on a special errand toward Earth. This comet is personified as a character, with a face like the man in the moon, and its particular mission is spreading good will as it lights the way for those seeking “the One.” The repeated refrain of the titular question is neatly answered with a double meaning by angels who point out that “the Star” everyone is seeking is actually the Christ Child. Jay’s stunning illustrations in folk-art style are in oils with a crackled finish that imparts an ancient air, though the layout and dramatically dark backgrounds are distinctly modern. The text is set in an unusual typeface, often flowing through the illustrations in white against midnight-blue skies, echoing the comet’s careening path through space. (Picture book. 3-7)