The Stuff of Stars
The Stuff of Stars

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Annotation: With lyrical poetry and vivid illustrations, the award-winning author-illustrator duo trace the connections inherent in all life, from the universe's beginnings to the uniqueness of each individual child.
Catalog Number: #169569
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Illustrator: Holmes, Ekua,
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-7636-7883-X Perma-Bound: 0-7804-2808-0
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-7636-7883-8 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-2808-9
Dewey: 523.1
LCCN: 2018956954
Dimensions: 30 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Horn Book
From darkness, we experience the Big Bang, the birth of the universe, and the emergence of life on Earth. Holmes breathes life and depth into Bauer's ambitious poem with marbled paper and collage, in which representational shapes subtly emerge from the mottled background. By book's end, we see an adult and child together: "You, / and me / loving you. / All of us / the stuff of stars."
Kirkus Reviews
The stories of the births of the universe, the planet Earth, and a human child are told in this picture book.Bauer begins with cosmic nothing: "In the dark / in the deep, deep dark / a speck floated / invisible as thought / weighty as God." Her powerful words build the story of the creation of the universe, presenting the science in poetic free verse. First, the narrative tells of the creation of stars by the Big Bang, then the explosions of some of those stars, from which dust becomes the matter that coalesces into planets, then the creation of life on Earth: a "lucky planet…neither too far / nor too near…its yellow star…the Sun." Holmes' digitally assembled hand-marbled paper-collage illustrations perfectly pair with the text—in fact the words and illustrations become an inseparable whole, as together they both delineate and suggest—the former telling the story and the latter, with their swirling colors suggestive of vast cosmos, contributing the atmosphere. It's a stunning achievement to present to readers the factual events that created the birth of the universe, the planet Earth, and life on Earth with such an expressive, powerful creativity of words paired with illustrations so evocative of the awe and magic of the cosmos. But then the story goes one brilliant step further and gives the birth of a child the same beginning, the same sense of magic, the same miracle.Wow. (Picture book. 3-8)
Publishers Weekly
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. (Sept.)
School Library Journal Starred Review
K-Gr 4 Poetic language and dazzling illustrations link the big bang to a child's birth in this striking picture book. Starting "in the deep, deep dark" where "a speck floated, invisible as thought, weighty as God," lyrical language describes the big bang ("in a trillionth of a secondour universe was born)," then moves to the creation of stars, planets, and life. Hand-marbled paper and collage images brilliantly capture the movement and mystery of the words. Opening spreads of black and purple swirls dramatically shift to blasts of shapes and colors as the universe evolves. Reminders of what was not yet created are interspersed: "no oceans, no mountains, no hippopotami," while some of the specific life forms mentioned can be spotted within the shapes and lines of the collages. The dramatic conclusion features the birth of the listener, when "another speck floated, invisible as dreams, special as Love." That speck is depicted as a white dot against black, visually mirroring the speck that started it all on the first page, but this time it's placed within a long strip, suggesting a birth canal. The narrative ties neatly back to the evolution described earlier: "Your hair once the carbon in a leaf." It also connects the child to other life forms: "You and the velvet moss, the caterpillars, the lions." The triumphant final spread shows parent and child in silhouette, gazing at the vivid swoops of line and color that suggest planets, stars, and galaxies. VERDICT An inspiring match of writing and art. Perfect for one-on-one sharing. Steven Engelfried, Wilsonville Public Library, OR
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
The stories of the births of the universe, the planet Earth, and a human child are told in this picture book.Bauer begins with cosmic nothing: "In the dark / in the deep, deep dark / a speck floated / invisible as thought / weighty as God." Her powerful words build the story of the creation of the universe, presenting the science in poetic free verse. First, the narrative tells of the creation of stars by the Big Bang, then the explosions of some of those stars, from which dust becomes the matter that coalesces into planets, then the creation of life on Earth: a "lucky planet…neither too far / nor too near…its yellow star…the Sun." Holmes' digitally assembled hand-marbled paper-collage illustrations perfectly pair with the text—in fact the words and illustrations become an inseparable whole, as together they both delineate and suggest—the former telling the story and the latter, with their swirling colors suggestive of vast cosmos, contributing the atmosphere. It's a stunning achievement to present to readers the factual events that created the birth of the universe, the planet Earth, and life on Earth with such an expressive, powerful creativity of words paired with illustrations so evocative of the awe and magic of the cosmos. But then the story goes one brilliant step further and gives the birth of a child the same beginning, the same sense of magic, the same miracle.Wow. (Picture book. 3-8)
Reading Level: 2.0
Interest Level: P-2

The 2019 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Winner

In an astonishing unfurling of our universe, Newbery Honor winner Marion Dane Bauer and Caldecott Honor winner Ekua Holmes celebrate the birth of every child.


Before the universe was formed, before time and space existed, there was . . . nothing. But then . . . BANG! Stars caught fire and burned so long that they exploded, flinging stardust everywhere. And the ash of those stars turned into planets. Into our Earth. And into us. In a poetic text, Marion Dane Bauer takes readers from the trillionth of a second when our universe was born to the singularities that became each one of us, while vivid illustrations by Ekua Holmes capture the void before the Big Bang and the ensuing life that burst across galaxies. A seamless blend of science and art, this picture book reveals the composition of our world and beyond — and how we are all the stuff of stars.


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