Lawrie-Lee Trevena offers a sweet story about a family spending time together stargazing in the picture book The Night Sky.
Set in Australia, the book follows a mother, father, and their three girls sitting in their backyard on a blanket. After the two younger girls go to bed, June, the oldest, asks, “What do the stars do?” Her father answers that stars are helpful for sailors trying to find their way home, and further, that the stars are “love [sic] ones” watching over them. June asks her mother what the moon does and is told that “the moon is a torchlight which [sic] shines in the darkness.”
Just before falling asleep, June asks if she will have the chance to be a star in the night sky, and is told that this will happen someday, but “for now, be the loving stars that you all are. Remember the love coming from the stars in the night sky.”
Trevena ends the book with a nice touch: the text of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” substituting the word “who” for “what” in the line “How I wonder what you are.”
The Night Sky conveys the comforting thought that stars are loved ones who have passed away. Its strength is in its simplicity. Because there isn’t much of a plot, it’s less a story than a reassuring, well-delivered way of looking at life and death.
Trevena’s text is gentle and calming, although it would be improved by an editor who could smooth some transitions and correct a few technical errors, such as the distracting use of the term “love ones” throughout the book (as opposed to the more common “loved ones”). Windel Eborlas renders a beautiful night sky above the ocean and finely detailed interior views of the family house, among other quality illustrations.
In summary, The Night Sky is simple, meditative and lovingly produced. With some minor tweaks, it would be an ideal bedtime book.
Also available as an ebook.