Most of us rarely take time to notice the twinkling lights that adorn the sky on clear evenings, but Mary Lyn Ray’s Stars reminds us of the wonder that surrounds us—night and day. Caldecott Honor recipient Marla Frazee’s soothing graphite and gouache illustrations are the perfect accompaniment to the quiet, gentle text. The beginning endpapers sport a faint blue sky with puffy clouds, while the opening page grows a little darker and features a single star and a single sentence: “A star is how you know it’s almost night.”

Subsequent pages allow readers to explore other ways stars enter our lives. We can make our own stars out of paper to become a sheriff or to place on a wand and make wishes or to lift our spirits when we’re not feeling as shiny as a star. We can find stars around us, from the yellow stars on vines that become October pumpkins to the snowflakes of winter.

Ray then brings us back to the stars that began the book, and the background darkens again as children get ready for bed and families huddle together to watch more and more stars emerge. But wait! There’s another surprise as the families look up to see a different form of stars—fireworks. Finally, the brightly colored smoke of the fireworks gives way to a black sky with increasing stars, while concluding endpapers depict the vastness of the night sky.

This stunning collaboration between writer and artist gently reminds us that shining stars bring beauty to the world. Stars will encourage young readers and listeners (and their parents) to gaze with new appreciation at the night sky.

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