cover image A Bed of Stars

A Bed of Stars

Jessica Love. Candlewick, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5362-1239-6

“We’re going camping, you and me,” Dad says one morning to the young narrator of this picture book. The two set out for the desert in the white-presenting family’s pickup truck, encountering the land’s beauty, captured by Love (I Love You Because I Love You) in sketchbook-style paintings and carefully observed phrases (“This is my best smell” says the child about the mountains’ fragrance). In images that center the experience of having a parent’s undivided attention, father and child identify flora and fauna, jump in sand dunes, and snuggle under the starry desert sky, its vastness echoed accessibly in the print of their truck-bed blanket. When the child confesses to being frightened by “how big the universe is and how it goes on forever and ever,” Dad knows just what to say. Stars are made of energy, he explains, “Same as you. Same as the beetles and crows and coyotes. It’s all friends and family in this universe.” It’s a gem of a moment, an example of the way a parent can hear and transform a child’s fear. When the two return, repeating the names of “all the new friends I’ve met... beetles, cacti, coyotes, stars,” Mom shares another surprise in this tender story about learning to approach that which feels unknown. Ages 4–8. Agent: Meredith Kaffel Simonoff, Gernert Co. (Apr.)