Like a Diamond in the Sky: Jane Taylor’s Beloved Poem of Wonder and the Stars

Bloomsbury. Feb. 2022. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781547604272.
Gr 2-5–Taylor, whose poem “The Star” eventually became the lyrics to the ageless nursery song, was homeschooled with her sister in the English countryside, where the garden, the meadow, and the night sky were part of their classroom. It was a world in which she felt poetry all around her. She worked in the family engraving business, but her real ambition was to be a published writer, an unacceptable goal for a young woman in the early 19th century. Taylor persisted in submitting her poetry under pseudonyms until an editor took an interest. In time, she was able to write under her own name and to support herself by writing primarily for children. Richly colored gouache paintings evoke the beauty of the rural world with a suitably old-fashioned formality. While the text succeeds in capturing an idyllic childhood in a nurturing family, the adult quest for publication is slowed by descriptions of nature and relies too frequently on star imagery.
VERDICT This attractive book with its extensive back matter will be of most interest in collections looking for solid picture book biographies of women.

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