The Stuff of Stars by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by Ekua Holmes

The Stuff of Stars 
illustrated by Ekua Holmes
Review Copy from Candlewick Press
With powerfully poetic free verse, Bauer tells the story of the creation of the universe, the earth and a child. A speck floats in the "deep, deep dark,"yet there was "yet not time, / there was yet no space. / No up, / no down, / no edge, / no center." There was no "Earth with soaring hawks," no you, no me. And then, "the beginning / of the beginning / of all beginnings / went / BANG!" As Bauer's well chosen words draw readers into and across the story, Holmes's hand-marbled, paper collage illustrations swirl with emptiness then burst into the fullness of everything. Reading The Stuff of Stars is an immersive, intense experience, the words and images are so perfectly paired. Holmes's choice of colors is organic and earthy, vibrant and atmospheric, with Bauer's careful evocation of creatures, from bluebirds and butterflies, jellyfish and ferns, to velvet moss, singing whales, larks and frogs is part lullaby, part love song. As the universe comes alive, and Earth proves to be perfect for "turning that starry stuff  / into mitochondria," at last, after "Waiting, / waiting, / dividing, / changing, / growing, " at last, "YOU burst into the world" and take a big breath of "the same air / once breathed by wooly mammoths. / You cried tears / that were once salty seas / Your hair / once the carbon in a leaf." The elegance and profound beauty of it all, from the words to the images, is enough to make you gasp, maybe even choke up. A stunning, unforgettable moment of a magic on the page.


Also illustrated by Ekua Holmes


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