Title: The Stuff of Stars
Author: Marion Dane Bauer
Illustrator: Ekua Holmes
Publisher: Candlewick, 2018
Themes: universe, big bang, evolution, wonder, humanity, biology, science
In the dark,
in the dark,
in the deep, deep, dark,
a speck floated,
invisible as a thought,
weighty as God.
There was yet no time,
there was yet no space.
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.
Why I like this book:
In a visually and textually stunning display the universe unfolds before us from a tiny speck right down to the celebration of the birth of every child.
The speck becomes stardust, and the stardust becomes planets, plants, animals, and eventually, you, the reader. Bauer’s text has a rhythmic cadence to it that lends itself to reading out loud, and Holmes’ illustrations give a dreamlike and yet epic atmosphere to the book. The marbled pictures and collages are combined digitally and are gorgeous. I just love the abstraction and think kids will too. I appreciate that rather than a very man-centric text, The Stuff of Stars teaches a child that they are one of many wondrous pieces of our infinite universe.
This is the first picture book I have personally read about the Big Bang and I feel it does the vast concept justice for young children, retaining all the awe even as the details are described. This is a terrific asset to a school library for science, art and more philosophical units of study. This book makes the abstract concept of how the universe came into being into something relatable, momentous, sensorial and awe-inspiring, and leaves room for personal interpretation. Bravo to author and illustrator.
Marion Dane-Bauer has a ton of resources to accompany the book on her website.
Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.