When I was working at the Denver Public Library, one of my first friends was an ambitious girl who loved challenges and helping others to succeed. She told me many times about her brother who was trying to break into the world of picture book illustrations. To my surprise, I discovered his name on a picture book through NetGalley, and I am so happy to be able to share this book with you!
A Home Under the Stars tells the story of a young boy named Toby who has just moved to the big city with his parents. Everything seems different, especially the fact that he can no longer see the stars at night. Feeling angry and lost, Toby is surprised when a mysterious talking, flying lion asks for Toby’s help to find the North Star. Together, the friends scour the city, ultimately finding more than they expected. Please see my full review here.
This story uses a dreamlike color palette, emphasizing the blue-grays intrinsic to the Pacific Northwest and punctuating them with a limited selection of pastel hues. These colors draw the reader’s eyes to specific elements within each illustration, and they give the book a very specific visual quality. From graffiti to clothing to decor, these colors enhance the detail found in each image.
I love that the story never comments on Toby’s location or family details; it is up to readers to determine these facts based on the illustrations. Even after looking over the book several times, I managed to discover elements I had missed in previous readings, and I’m sure there are still more.
Short phrases coupled with an engaging and nuanced plot make this book well suited to readers of all ages. It is especially important to be read in a lap or individual setting as the images are filled with intricate details that add an important layer to the story. I am pleased to recommend this book to all of you, and I’m looking forward to reading more wonderful work from Andy Chou Musser!
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