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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, by Jerry Pinkney. Little, Brown and Company, Hachette. 2011. $18.50 ages 2 and up

"Then the traveler in the dark
Thanks you for your tiny spark.
He could not see where to go
If you did  not twinkle so.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!"

Even the moon has its eye on the tiny star sparkling in the pre-dawn sky! As the forest awakens with robins gathering odds and ends for a nest and a chipmunk scurrying near a rock wall, the book opens. It begins with the familiar chorus, the chipmunk enraptured by the star itself. As the world is explored and delight taken in its abundant beauty, we follow the young mammal throughout its discovery-filled day. Ever curious and seemingly unconcerned about the height of the nest that becomes its resting place, the chipmunk is not deterred by the return of its robin owners.

Rather, the nest flies off, becoming a sailboat steered through the night sky by our fearless adventurer, now decked out in a sailor suit and bound for the star he has been watching. His travels take him past possums, and bats and the lamenting robins whose home has suddenly taken flight. The wind gives support. A sudden change in direction topples the boat captain onto a lily pad, and facing danger. Who will come to the rescue?

Jerry Pinkney uses the full lyrics of this popular lullaby, a chipmunk as its hero for the many he has had the pleasure of watching over the years, and all of his incredible artistic talent to create an often wordless 'story' for his young audience. He uses pencil, watercolor and colored pencils to bring this glorious woodland to life for us, all the while displaying his admiration for nature and its many splendors.

In an author's note he mentions his research process:

"I also investigated star shapes hidden in nature, inspiring me to illustrate these glittering wonders not just at nighttime but also from dawn (represented on the front endpaper) through morning, afternoon, twilight, and the dreamtime beyond."

Indeed...what a beautiful gift for a new baby!

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