cover image The Stuff of Stars

The Stuff of Stars

Marion Dane Bauer, illus. by Ekua Holmes. Candlewick, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7636-7883-8

In spare, supple verse, Newbery Honor author Bauer (Winter Dance) tells a big story—that of everything there is, how it all came to be, and how the matter that makes up the universe is the same as the matter that makes “All of us/ the stuff of stars.” The universe starts with a single speck, “invisible as thought,/ weighty as God,” before it explodes, forming stars and planets. But the planet we live on is a long way off yet, the narrator tells a beloved child: “no oceans,/ no mountains,/ no hippopotami.” Finally, Earth’s magical combination of conditions lets it turn “that starry stuff/ into mitochondria,/ jellyfish,/ spiders,” and, eventually, another speck grows into something else special: “YOU burst into the world.” How to make these abstract ideas visible? In a brilliant stroke of visual imagination, Caldecott Honor artist Holmes (Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets) uses the swirls and waves of marbled paper to represent the ebb and flow of cosmic matter. Her spreads appear to move and shift on a grand scale, while Bauer suggests that, just possibly, the power of creation and the power of love are not so different. Ages 4–8. [em](Sept.) [/em]