The stars above Manhattan compete with the many lights sprinkling on at dusk. Still, outside our window the great unknown night sky calls my children as it has always called children. They kneel on the sofa at the window, leaning their faces upward to the first bright lights: Why are the stars so far away? Why don’t they fall? Who made them? Can we go see a star?
In their room are baskets of overflowing books, many are tales about outer space, astronauts, the planets, the vast universe; a few are about the adventures of aliens and underpants; and one is about a great green room, and a picture of the cow jumping over the moon. I added recently The Sleepy Star, written and illustrated by Adrienne Werle-Austermann, a book in rhyme, about the nighttime adventures of one little star.
We follow the little star as he falls from the sky and into the sea: “It seemed the little star had gotten his wish to leave the sky and become a starfish!”
The rhymes are soothing at bedtime: “He passed by fish of all colors and size… and an old seahorse that looked very wise.” It is a sweet venture into another world. I appreciate the sense of imagination and adventure the book captures, keeping it simple at the same time.
Another favorite interplanetary fiction tucked into a wicker basket is The Little Prince, a story more complicated than others among those children’s books. All possibilities in The Little Prince exist above the planet, in the stars. As the narrator concedes, “Look up at the sky. Ask yourself, ‘Has the sheep eaten the flower or not?’ And you’ll see how everything changes…”
Each of our many space-themed books however, including The Sleepy Star, unravels in its own thread the magic of childhood, which lasts so short a time, among the great and infinite story of the cosmos. To close in on the mystery of a sleeping child, these stories repeat, simply look up at the sky.
I was sent The Sleepy Star for the purpose of this review. I was not compensated in any way. All opinions are, as always, my own.