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THE LUCKY STAR by Judy Young


by Judy Young & illustrated by Chris Ellison

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: May 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-58536-348-3
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Counting “lucky stars” isn’t easy when you own the world’s ugliest hand-me-down shoes, your school has closed and your dad is permanently out of town. Ruth, nine, wants to pursue her dream of education, but how can she do that during the Great Depression? With her mother’s encouragement (“Momma’s sky was full of [lucky] stars”) in her ears, she sees how she can make a difference. There is no money for books, paper and pencils, but after the daily biscuits are made, Ruth sees the scrim of flour left on the table as a blackboard and she uses it to teach her little sister Janie and the other younger children in the community to read and write. The gentle text and soft illustrations caress the subject yet never go deep. Young’s positive, feel-good story succeeds in showing how applying a good attitude and creativity will make life shine brighter than a lucky star, but an overlong text and bland, pastel illustrations that fail to create a strong sense of period weaken the book’s effectiveness. (Picture book. 5-8)