Walking the reader through a series of eight colors, Are Your Stars Like My Stars explores each color as it is experienced by children in their own world, highlighting the different things with which a color may be associated for different cultures and places. Each color is showcased in two scenes, the first presented in lyrical verse as well as illustration and the second unfolding only through gorgeous mixed-media illustrations. Phrases mirroring “Is your black . . . like my black?” for each color link the two scenes and provide a parallel framework that feels connective rather than repetitive. Although the text itself is occasionally difficult to read set against the illustrations (particularly on the color blue page), which distracts from the otherwise excellent poetic flow, the original rhymes and pleasing cadence shine through as soon as one is familiar with where to look. The masterful incorporation of photographed texture in the illustrations (snippets of fabric used as clothing, furry alpaca, real cotton-candy, etc.) is clever and creates a very distinctive style that adds to the depth and authenticity. While the genre of color book may be stereotypically pigeon-holed as best suited for the board book format, this book is so substantive that it slides seamlessly into the picture book format for older readers.
The “Inventive” badge is awarded to books that offer exceptionally original illustrations.
The “Rhyme Time” badge is awarded to books with exceptional poetry.
"The best feature of the book is the highly textured, collage-style illustrations, many of which contain soft strokes of color that give the images a pleasantly dreamlike quality. Unfortunately, the print is small . . ."
"The text emphasizes building empathy and suggests that all children, differences aside, view their surroundings with a universal curiosity."
Leslie Helakoski is the author of the Big Chickens series as well as Woolbur and Woolbur Goes to School. She has written and illustrated Fair Cow, Big Pigs, Doggone Feet, and Hoot and Honk Just Can’t Sleep. She lives in Michigan with her family. Visit her online at www.helakoskibooks.com.
Heidi Woodward Sheffield (heidibooks.com) has received numerous awards from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators for her illustrations, and Brick by Brick is her first picture book. On any given day, she can be seen taking photographs of textures that inspire her stories and collages. She especially drawn to old brick buildings, and likes daydreaming about the strong hands that built them and the people who lived there. She lives in Northville, Michigan.
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