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Monday, November 26, 2018

The Stuff of Stars, written by Marion Dane Bauer and illustrated by Ekua Holmes. Candlewick Press, Penguin Random House. 2018. $23.99 ages 5 and up

"No Earth with soaring hawks,
scuttling beetles,
trees reaching for the sky.
There was no sky.
No you.
No me.
Only the speck,
waiting ...
And then
the beginning ... "

What a gorgeous book this is ... it is a harmony of carefully chosen and captivating poetic words complemented by spectacular 'hand-marbled paper and collage assembled digitally' artwork by the remarkable Ekua Holmes. One cannot help spending time reading and rereading, while thoroughly examining every detail of the amazing double page spreads.

It is a book that will find fans of every age. The author helps her readers take a close look at the Big Bang and the creation of our universe. It begins in the deep darkness of space which held nothing but a single speck.

"There was yet no time,
there was yet no space.
No up,
no down,
no edge,
no center."

Only one planet is near enough to its closest star to be not too hot and not too cold to sustain life. As time passes life forms are born and die, until the reader arrives from its own 'stuff of stars'.

"You took a big breath
of the same air
once breathed
by woolly mammoths.
You cried tears
that were once salty seas.
Your hair
once the carbon in a leaf."

We are all made of the 'stuff of stars'. This celebration of the universe, our Earth, and humanity is a remarkable achievement, graced with artwork that cannot accurately be described by me. The beauty  Ms. Holmes creates needs to be seen. This is a magical book, and deserves a place in all libraries and on bookshelves everywhere.

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