STARRED REVIEW
September 2018

A stunning depiction of the beginning of all things

By Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by Ekua Holmes

In this wondrous meditation on the origins of life, readers see matter expand and time and space blossom.

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In this wondrous meditation on the origins of life, readers see matter expand and time and space blossom. In spare free verse, Newbery Medal-winning author Marion Dane Bauer kicks off The Stuff of Stars with the “deep, deep dark.” There is only a speck in the vast blackness. But once our universe is born, the pages explode with vivid oranges, reds and blues. Caldecott Honor winner Ekua Holmes’ dazzling collage illustrations—rendered on handmade marbleized paper—feature deep, rich colors and remarkably kinetic lines. Holmes takes highly abstract concepts and makes them sing, swirl and spin on the pages. Bauer fills the text with animated, bustling verbs: After all, the creation of life itself takes great colliding, stretching, expanding and exploding.

Three spreads are devoted to the formation of Earth—a planet with “just the right tilt” to support life—where animals, including humans, eventually begin to thrive. Bauer then seamlessly weaves in the birth of a child, who also begins as a speck in the darkness. Here, the story’s second-person narration works to great effect, directly addressing the young reader: “You cried tears / that were once salty seas.”

The Stuff of Stars is out of this world.

 

This article was originally published in the September 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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The Stuff of Stars

The Stuff of Stars

By Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by Ekua Holmes
Candlewick
ISBN 9780763678838

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