Star Wishes

A calm, imaginative bedtime story with a few bumps along the way.

Would you like to wish on a star? Three young children wish on the same star in three different countries on different nights in this clever and beautifully illustrated book by debut author Cox.

In the United States, a boy, wearing dinosaur pajamas and toting a stuffed duck, wants to look at the stars instead of going to bed. His mother allows him to study the night sky, and he spots the brightest star—the wishing star. He makes a wish, and just as he is about to tell his mother what he’s wished for, she tells him not to, or his wish won’t come true. The boy then recalls his teacher’s visit to Japan, and he asks his mother if a boy there is wishing on the star, too. She tells him it isn’t night in Japan, introducing young readers to the idea of time zones, but she bets when it is night, a Japanese boy will wish on the same star. Turn the page, and a young Japanese boy with striped pajamas and a stuffed panda goes through the same process with the wishing star. This boy’s teacher visited Germany, so he asks about a German boy’s wish. Soon after, a little German boy with blue pajamas and a stuffed rabbit looks at the star and wonders if an American boy will make a wish on it as well. Cox introduces the words for “good night” in three languages (including English, where the pronunciation provided is unnecessary, as those are not among the most challenging words in the book). Unfortunately, the transliteration provided for the Japanese (usually “oyasuminasai”) is misspelled (“oyasminasai”), and the suggested German pronunciation (“goo-tah-naht”) is missing the “ch” sound. Still, the concept of the children’s thoughts about children in other countries is charming, and Hallman’s subtly shaded illustrations, with her large-headed, big-eyed, wide-smiling children, are delightful. The stuffed animals and the dinosaur-covered pillowcase of the American boy add lovely, authentic details to the boys’ rooms.

A calm, imaginative bedtime story with a few bumps along the way.

Pub Date: March 26, 2015


Page Count: -

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2015


A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies.

Pigeon finds something better to drive than some old bus.

This time it’s Santa delivering the fateful titular words, and with a “Ho. Ho. Whoa!” the badgering begins: “C’mon! Where’s your holiday spirit? It would be a Christmas MIRACLE! Don’t you want to be part of a Christmas miracle…?” Pigeon is determined: “I can do Santa stuff!” Like wrapping gifts (though the accompanying illustration shows a rather untidy present), delivering them (the image of Pigeon attempting to get an oversize sack down a chimney will have little ones giggling), and eating plenty of cookies. Alas, as Willems’ legion of young fans will gleefully predict, not even Pigeon’s by-now well-honed persuasive powers (“I CAN BE JOLLY!”) will budge the sleigh’s large and stinky reindeer guardian. “BAH. Also humbug.” In the typically minimalist art, the frustrated feathered one sports a floppily expressive green and red elf hat for this seasonal addition to the series—but then discards it at the end for, uh oh, a pair of bunny ears. What could Pigeon have in mind now? “Egg delivery, anyone?”

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781454952770

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023


From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2019

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