Giovanni and his trusty donkey, Lorenzo, have a very important job as Specialists of Sky Repair. Each night, they load “star stuff” in packs on Lorenzo’s back and set off into the night sky, “over the Moon and out past Mars,” looking for holes that need to be filled. When they find a dark spot, Lorenzo brays while Giovanni spreads the star stuff into the dark. The star stuff sticks, then grows and glows until it becomes a star!
But as this lovable duo goes on their way, Lorenzo’s leg is caught in a nebula. Giovanni pulls and tugs, but Lorenzo doesn’t budge. Some unexpected allies answer Giovanni’s calls for help: Orion the Hunter, Cancer the Crab and Taurus the Bull. With the assistance of these constellations, Giovanni and Lorenzo might just make it home in time to watch the “best star ever made”—the sun—rise.
Writer and folk singer Rand Burkert (Mouse and Lion) and two-time Caldecott Medalist Chris Raschka (The Hello, Goodbye Window; A Ball for Daisy) give life to this whimsical fable. The lyrical text evokes movement through Burkert’s meter and imagery, and the forms of rhyme vary throughout, making them unpredictable and exciting.
Raschka’s playful illustrations pair perfectly with the text and bring a dreamlike quality to the story. His vibrant watercolors capture Lorenzo the donkey’s sweet personality and the cast’s fierce determination to set him free from the nebula. Raschka brings the constellations to life with shades of blue and adds pops of yellow to show they are, in fact, made of the same star stuff the Specialists of Sky Repair are carrying.
A fun read-aloud for any setting, Star Stuff is sure to delight readers of all ages. While an interest in astronomy is not necessary to enjoy this picture book, Star Stuff can provide young readers with a lovely introduction to space, or it can simply serve as a lively tale of teamwork and determination.