cover image The Stars That Shine

The Stars That Shine

Julie Clay. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $24.95 (112pp) ISBN 978-0-689-82202-5

Debut author Clay recasts the childhood memories of 12 Nashville stars as short stories, blending fiction and bits of biographical fact. Clay's pool of material is deep; she has fashioned these tales from her familiarity with such artists as Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, George Jones and Trisha Yearwood. (Clay is the daughter of country singer Brenda Lee and a former executive director of the Nashville Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences.) Unfortunately, a preponderance of passive sentences and an occasional overload of detail give the writing a certain stiffness. Bright spots include the Kentucky ""holler"" dialect employed in ""Keep Out,"" about Loretta Lynn's suspicion of strangers, and the heartwarming emotion in ""The Coat of Many Colors,"" featuring Dolly Parton's song of the same name. A photograph and brief biography of the performer follow each story. As accompaniment, Andreasen's soft watercolor scenes all appear to be set in the same generic, idyllic '50s era (even though 18-year-old LeAnn Rimes's childhood would have been in the 1980s). Even with the book's flaws, though, country music fans will likely take a shine to it. All ages. (Oct.) FYI: A portion of the proceeds from this book will benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.