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THE STUFF OF STARS

Wow.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2018


  • Coretta Scott King Book Award Winner

The stories of the births of the universe, the planet Earth, and a human child are told in this picture book.

Bauer begins with cosmic nothing: “In the dark / in the deep, deep dark / a speck floated / invisible as thought / weighty as God.” Her powerful words build the story of the creation of the universe, presenting the science in poetic free verse. First, the narrative tells of the creation of stars by the Big Bang, then the explosions of some of those stars, from which dust becomes the matter that coalesces into planets, then the creation of life on Earth: a “lucky planet…neither too far / nor too near…its yellow star…the Sun.” Holmes’ digitally assembled hand-marbled paper-collage illustrations perfectly pair with the text—in fact the words and illustrations become an inseparable whole, as together they both delineate and suggest—the former telling the story and the latter, with their swirling colors suggestive of vast cosmos, contributing the atmosphere. It’s a stunning achievement to present to readers the factual events that created the birth of the universe, the planet Earth, and life on Earth with such an expressive, powerful creativity of words paired with illustrations so evocative of the awe and magic of the cosmos. But then the story goes one brilliant step further and gives the birth of a child the same beginning, the same sense of magic, the same miracle.

Wow. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7883-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

ECLIPSE

Sure to have readers booking their own trips to catch the next brief but memorable solar eclipse.

A total solar eclipse brings a father and son closer together.

After learning in school about the eclipse’s impending arrival, a curious young boy excitedly figures out the best time and place to see it. His father agrees to transport him to the woods to view the eclipse, and the child describes everything that happens at various points—two months before the eclipse, then a month, a week, a day, an hour, a minute, and the exciting second before the sun slips behind the moon. Time seems to stand still, and the creatures in the woods are baffled by what appears to be an early nightfall. Then the countdown begins again, with the boy describing what happens after the eclipse—one second, one minute, one hour, one day, one year, and even longer. The moment has become a shared memory that enhances the bond between father and son and inspires future eclipse-chasing expeditions. Based on the author’s actual experience with his own son in 2017, this picture book features lively, child-friendly digital artwork filled with scenes of nature, matter-of-fact text that acknowledges the awesomeness of this rare phenomenon, and useful maps that chart the solar eclipse of 2017 and projected paths for future eclipses. Father and son are light-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sure to have readers booking their own trips to catch the next brief but memorable solar eclipse. (more information on eclipses) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781338608823

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2023

OUR SUBWAY BABY

A delightful story of love and hope.

Families are formed everywhere—including large metropolitan mass-transit systems!

Baby Kevin, initially known as “Danny ACE Doe,” was found in the New York City’s 14th Street subway station, which serves the A-C-E lines, by one of his future fathers, Danny. Kevin’s other father, Pete (author Mercurio), serves as the narrator, explaining how the two men came to add the newborn to their family. Readers are given an abridged version of the story from Danny and Pete’s point of view as they work to formally adopt Kevin and bring him home in time for Christmas. The story excels at highlighting the determination of loving fathers while still including realistic moments of hesitation, doubt, and fear that occur for new and soon-to-be parents. The language is mindful of its audience (for example using “piggy banks” instead of “bank accounts” to discuss finances) while never patronizing young readers. Espinosa’s posterlike artwork—which presents the cleanest New York readers are ever likely to see—extends the text and makes use of unexpected angles to heighten emotional scenes and moments of urgency. The diversity of skin tones, ages, and faces (Danny and Pete both present white, and Kevin has light brown skin) befits the Big Apple. Family snapshots and a closing author’s note emphasize that the most important thing in any family is love. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11.3-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 43% of actual size.)

A delightful story of love and hope. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-42754-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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