Henry's Stars

illus. by David Elliot. 40p. Philomel. May 2015. RTE $16.99. ISBN 9780399171161; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780698175402. LC 2014033929.
PreS-Gr 3—In this charming companion to Henry's Map (Philomel, 2013), the young pig and his farm animal friends discover the wonder of the nighttime sky. One warm evening, as Henry sits gazing at the stars, he notices how one particular cluster forms the shape of a pig. Thrilled by his discovery, he rushes to the woolshed to share his exciting news about the "Great Pig in the Sky." But when the sheep look in the direction Henry points, they see something different. Abigail the cow is next on the scene. When the sheep triumphantly tell her they've discovered the "Great Sheep of the Stars," Abigail peers into the sky and definitely sees a "Great Star Cow." Mr. Brown discerns only the "Great Starry Horse," and, of course, the chickens perceive Heavenly Hens! By now Henry's excitement has turned to dismay, and even he can no longer see the Great Pig in the Sky. He retreats to his sty, leaving the squabbles of his barnyard friends behind. It is there, in the quiet of the night, that the Great Pig appears to Henry once again. Elliot's watercolor and pencil illustrations seamlessly blend the realism and farce that makes this story work so well. The spreads succeed in conveying both the expansiveness of space and the animals' personal reactions to their conflicting perceptions. Teachers will enjoy using this story to exemplify point of view or introduce a unit on constellations. Younger audiences will relate to Henry and delight in the predictability of his predicament.
VERDICT This modern-day fable deserves a place in most collections.

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