A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Star Stuff introduces kids to scientific concepts, particularly astronomy, with beautiful illustrations and frequent exclamations of, "Wowie!" There's also a good bit of history in young Carl's visit to the 1939 World's Fair and his subsequent involvement with the space program. Two dense pages of notes and bibliography, obviously directed at older readers and adults, offer resources for further investigation.
Following your curiosity and working hard on the things that fascinate you can lead you to wonderful places.
Positive Role Models
Young Carl's fascination with stars drives him to study hard to learn more about them -- and to send friendly messages to any beings living on other planets.
"Wowie!" is the exclamation of choice.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Star Stuff introduces kids to the "Wowie!" side of science with the story of how a young boy named Carl went to the 1939 World's Fair and got fascinated with the stars. In colorful, lively illustrations, author-illustrator Stephanie Roth Sisson shows the vastness of the cosmos and the determination of the kid who eventually became Dr. Carl Sagan to learn more about the universe. Some adults may find such essential Saganisms as "the Earth and every living thing are made up of star stuff" (as contrasted to, say, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, silicon, and the liek) a bit cloying and gee-whizzy, but it's a formula that's gotten generations of kids intrigued with science. Aside from astronomy, the book offers plenty of opportunities for further investigation, including 20th-century history. There's also funny stuff, as when young Carl goes to the library in search of a book about stars, only to be presented with one about Hollywood celebrities.
Is It Any Good?
Stephanie Roth Sisson's brilliantly colored, appealing illustrations bring the subject to vivid life, whether it's the vastness of the universe or the features of Carl's neighborhood in Brooklyn. Most kids these days don't know about Carl Sagan and his 1980s PBS series, Cosmos, which is something Sisson, a big fan, sets out to fix in STAR STUFF, bringing Sagan's imaginative, cheerleading approach to science to a new generation.
Parents may want to be prepared for discussions the book might bring up, such as space travel and communication with people on other planets. And what, exactly, it means that everything is made of "star stuff."
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.