“Intricate geometric illustrations shine in a folktale about the origin of stars.”
In a time when only the sun and moon illuminate the sky, a girl worries about her fisherman father who is left alone in the dark a few days each month during the new moon. The sun notices the girl’s concern and sends a ray of sunshine to earth, which breaks into many pieces. The sun instructs the girl to gather the pieces and place them in the night sky to guide her father. As the girl begins the task, carefully arranging the broken sunrays to depict “beautiful pictures and images” in the sky, a mischievous monkey steals the bag and causes the pieces to spill out into the night sky. Initially distraught, the girl realizes that in the scattered starlight she sees her father’s boat. Mistry digitally illustrates the folkloresque tale in her intricate, India-influenced style of repeating geometric shapes. Circles, triangles, and diamonds fill black pages with blue and gold hues and the occasional bold red. The monkey’s design is a particular marvel, and the crystal-like design of the shining Polaris—the first and brightest star the girl places in the sky—dazzles. In this story, Mistry’s strength lies in her illustrations, as the story itself is less refined, even for a folktale. The opening pages read as two separate beginnings, introducing first the sun and moon and then restarting by introducing the girl, and the progression of the story feels forced rather than fluid. But readers will be hypnotized by Mistry’s intricate illustrations and overlook shortcomings in the story.