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THE NORTH STAR by Peter H. Reynolds


by Peter H. Reynolds & illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

Pub Date: April 14th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7636-3677-7
Publisher: Candlewick

A charming original fable, an encouraging allegory, a great gift for graduates—Reynolds’s reworking of a previously available title is all of these. What it isn’t, however, is a successful picture book for young children. That’s too bad, because the artwork is terrific, featuring an adorable, tow-headed tot who travels through a lightly sketched pastoral world encountering distractions and difficulties while learning to make his way in the world. Along the way he has to tune out the blandishments of a talking cat that seems intent on luring him back to the path of everyday expectations. The language used is simple but not always entirely clear. The text notes that “He wasn’t afraid of much,” which may leave young listeners wondering what the boy does fear—and why it matters. They may also wonder at his isolation as well as about the motivation of the various animals. The detached tone, frequent ellipses and vague descriptions as well as the overtly inspirational author’s note provide further evidence that this one is really for the grown-ups. (Picture book. 4-8)