Baby book review: Stardust by Jeanne Willis, Illustrated by Briony May Smith

Baby librarian Marian and her mommy Margaret review the very special picture book Stardust by Jeanne Willis, illustrated by Briony May Smith.

Cover of Stardust by Jeanne Willis

Marian reviews Stardust

The pages are the best thing about this book. They’re slightly thicker than most my other picture books, but it’s still a picture book and not a board book, so I feel like a big girl when I turn the pages. And I want to turn all the pages nowadays. I accidentally tore one of the pages in this book when I was still practicing, but I’ve gotten much better and there haven’t been any torn pages since.

Marian reads StardustI do like other things about this book too. I’m a star, just like this little girl and her sister! Mommy tells me this book is about how sisters can be jealous of one another sometimes. I don’t really get that, because I know I’m perfect. This little girl seems perfect too. But I trust Mommy, because she has two older sisters, and I don’t have any. This book makes me think I don’t want any, so I hope Mommy and Daddy don’t have any more children.

My favorite illustration is the very first one, with the little girl gazing up at the night sky. I often go back to this page, even if Mommy has read many pages past it. It’s such a good page. I like it when Mommy points to everything on the page and tells me what it is. One time, I even said “moon” after she said it. I have lots of words, but I prefer to use my own words for things instead of Mommy’s words. But sometimes it’s nice to hear her tell me that I did a good job.

Margaret reviews Stadust

It took Marian several months before she decided she loved this one, and now we read it every day. In it, a little girl feels like she can never shine as brightly as her sister does, and wishes she was a star like her. But then her grandfather explains that she is a star, and tells the story of how the earth and human beings and especially sisters began. “Once upon a time, there was…NOTHING,” he begins. “But then…BANG! Twinkle, twinkle. The first star was born.” This is a really child-friendly way of explaining how we’re all made of stardust, and how the earth began. I imagine if Marian were older, it would lead to a discussion about the big bang.

The illustrations are my favorite part. They have this sepia tint to them, which gives them a nostalgic look. I especially love the colorful sea and jungle pages, though like Marian says, even when we turn to those super colorful and vibrant pages, she flips back to the very first one, one of the darkest. It’s so interesting to see what she likes best!

This is a great book about grandparents, about dealing with sibling jealousy, and about the big bang. Despite having so many themes to juggle, it never feels unbalanced.

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