Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Sky Star: Shine! by Patrick McDonnell

Little Hoshi was a star.

A sea star who lived in the ocean.

Every night she would gaze at the twinkling stars in the sky above and make a wish."I wish I was there instead of here."

Little Hoshi's heart is heavy, as she lets herself sink down, down, down through the depths of the sea, past bright, pastel corals, green crabs, and an reddish octopus.

She hits bottom.

"Oh, poor little me... a star stuck in the sea.”

Poor benighted Hoshi believes that there is no way she can shine in the dark ocean depths. But then she spots an approaching glimmer. Something is shining, even down at the bottom of the sea. Could it be a star, shedding light in the darkness?

No. But it is an anglerfish, a sort of philosopher Diogenes with his lantern, bearing words of wisdom. Can a kindly old fish kindle hope and light an alternative route to stardom for Little Hoshi?

Best-selling author Patrick McDonnell's just published Shine! (Little, Brown and Company, 2017) begins with the well-promulgated premise of "brighten the corner where you are," as Hoshi suddenly sees her place in the beauty around her. This is a message which may puzzle younger preschoolers a bit, but they will nonetheless rejoice at Hoshi's rise to the top of the sea, where she now feels a greater affinity with the stars in the sky. What really floats this lightweight fable are the illustrations of artist Naoka Stoop, whose glowing paintings on wood incorporate the texture of the base with shimmering, lucent, and lovely illustrations of a bedazzling seascape lit by starlight. "There's no place like home," adds Kirkus Reviews, "even underwater."

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