Mar 13, 2008
Stars in My Eyes
My Friend, the Starfinder
written by George Ella Lyon and illustrated by Stephen Gammell
Atheneum/Simon and Schuster
I've been reading George Ella Lyon's stories for a long time and so many of them are "keepers" for me, both picture books and longer novels. I love her use of language -- the way her poet's voice comes through -- and her unique characters always come alive for me through her words. Anyway, you can tell I'm a big fan and her newest picture book leaves me tingling.
In it a young girl has a good friend – they dance together and she listens as the old man tells incredible stories from an old green porch. “The stranger they were/ the truer he looked/ and I believed every one.” Her narration is straightforward, though never letting go of wonder, as she tell readers about the time he found a falling star “. . . warm and smooth/ as an egg straight from the hen” and another time a rainbow “. . .color pouring/ over him/ cool/ warm/ striped/ air”. Gammell’s illustrations are some of his finest, using splatters, drops and washes of bright colors on the pages showing the elder and the girl contrasted with black and white pages infused with light on the pages illustrating the finds he made as a younger man. Read and hold tight to stories, friendship and wonder. Read it out loud.
Oh, one more thing. There's a real Starfinder in George Ella's life whom she talks about at the end of the book.