cover image Seeing Stars

Seeing Stars

Sharleen Collicott. Dial Books, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-1522-6

Aptly titled, this book is significantly more impressive for its eye-catching visuals than for its slightly cutesy story line. Wrought from a variegated and lustrous palette, Collicott's winsome gouache paintings show two animal friends, Motley and Fuzzball, in the throes of an aeronautical adventure-or so they think. The two build a ""junkbird"" from objects collected from their junkyard home, and hope to reach the stars. But, when their craft takes an unexpected plunge, they unknowingly end up in the sea. Through the window, the wide-eyed friends spy a host of iridescent starfish, which they mistake for the celestial twinklers. Collicott adroitly pulls off the kid-pleasing contrivance of letting readers in on a secret the characters don't know. But the plot pales in comparison to the beautifully molded figures in her radiant compositions, especially alluring in their playful portrayal of underwater life. Ages 3-7. (Apr.)