Can Mabel and Grandpa convince others to shut off lights in order to stargaze?
Mabel’s grandfather loves telling tales of the night sky over the prairie where he grew up. Mabel is especially drawn to his stories of stars since she loves looking up at the five stars she can see from her bedroom window and the 19 “from her backyard in a narrow patch of sky.” She and Grandpa take a night walk, seeking the thousands of stars visible during Grandpa’s childhood. They enlist some neighbors to shut off lights and join them—then about 200 stars can be seen. Realizing that more stars will be visible only if the streetlights are temporarily off, Mabel and Grandpa appeal to the mayor—and are refused. Undaunted, the duo begins a campaign flooding the mayor’s office with support from many residents, but she still refuses, citing her commitment to safety even when a police officer and a parks and rec worker contradict her concerns. Finally, Mabel finds a way to the mayor’s heart; the story ends with a community event that promises to become traditional. Graceful, readable text underscores the protagonists’ loving relationship. The art—watercolor washes over ink—is a sweet complement, whether portraying daylight excursions or revelers under the increasingly starry sky. Mabel, Grandpa, and the mayor are white; there are people of color among town employees and residents.
It takes a village to control light pollution…gently inspirational. (Picture book. 3-7)