THE BEAR AND THE STAR by Lola M. Schaefer


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 7
Email this review


A lyrical testament to peace.

Nothing definitively marks this as a Christmas book, but readers may be cued to understand it as such due to the opening reference “to a star— / a new star, / barely visible, / yet larger than any before” that Bear spies “early one December morning.” This star signals that “it was time,” though for what remains a mystery until the book’s end. First Bear searches for “a tree— / a tree that would be strong, / a tree that would be tall, / a tree that would be the center / of all to come.” An ideal evergreen appears, again evoking Christmas, but with subtlety. The text and the oil paintings, which have a soft visual texture, then combine to depict a peaceable kingdom of animals from different habitats gathering around the tree before diverse people assemble, too. Ultimately, they come “to the tree / … / under a star / … / because it was time…” and then a final page turn delivers the concluding words, “for peace.” The accompanying illustration shows a woman with light-brown skin and black, straight hair holding a swaddled baby as she gazes up at the star. The scene evokes Madonna-and-child imagery, but it resists such an easy parallel with the inclusion of other figures: Behind the pair stands a child with similar coloring, before them a fawn, and cardinals fly through the snowy, starlit sky.

Serene yet enigmatic. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 24th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-06-266037-4
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Greenwillow
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2019


ChildrenRUN FOR YOUR LIFE! by Lola M. Schaefer
by Lola M. Schaefer
ChildrenSWAMP CHOMP by Lola M. Schaefer
by Lola M. Schaefer
ChildrenONE BUSY DAY by Lola M. Schaefer
by Lola M. Schaefer


ChildrenLOUISA by Yona Zeldis McDonough
by Yona Zeldis McDonough
ChildrenPATIENCE WRIGHT by Pegi Deitz Shea
by Pegi Deitz Shea
ChildrenGEORGIA’S BONES by Jen Bryant
by Jen Bryant