cover image Star Child

Star Child

Claire A. Nivola. FSG/Foster, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-374-37182-1

Nivola (Life in the Ocean) paints the Star Child of the title as a whitish flare shooting forth from the surface of a celestial body, straining toward a blue and green planet floating in the distance. “Please,” the Star Child asks his elders, “may I go and see what it is like?” “To visit planet Earth you will have to be born as a human child,” they warn; they describe the joys and sorrows of human life. The gouache-and-watercolor paintings that accompany their words are as exquisite as Persian miniatures. In them, readers see a couple greet their new baby, then watch as the boy learns, grows, and marvels at the world’s beauty. The boy becomes a man and has a child of his own. Decades pass, and an old man sits alone on a park bench. “And when the time comes to return to your star,” the elders conclude, “it may be hard to say goodbye to that strangely beautiful world.” Behind Nivola’s fable is a comforting theology, one that views human life and death as an interlude in a celestial existence that continues indefinitely. Ages 5–8. (May)