Thursday 26 August 2021


Star by Artelle Lenthall, illustrated by Margaret Dewar (Little Pink Dog Books) HB RRP $24.99 ISBN: 9780648964001

Reviewed by Dannielle Viera

Star is sad because it is small and does not twinkle like the other stars in the sky. ‘No one will ever notice me, let alone make a wish on me,’ it sighs to an angel, while looking down at the little town below. One cold night, Star sees a pregnant woman and her husband searching for shelter. Star’s heart begins to burn with love and compassion, transforming it into ‘the biggest and brightest star in the heavens’. Star’s joyous light shines on the mother and her newborn, and leads shepherds and kings to the holy infant. Its crucial job done, Star twinkles happily just once and then disappears.

Artelle Lenthall’s inspired retelling of the nativity story from the point of view of the Star of Bethlehem adds a thoughtful new dimension to this well-known Biblical tale. Many kids aged six to eight will empathise with the tiny star that is desperate to be noticed among its sparkling peers. Artelle weaves her themes through the text with great sensitivity, gently guiding youngsters towards the importance of helping others, and conveying hope to those who long to find their own unique place in the world.

Tasked with bringing the character of a star to life, Margaret Dewar has succeeded brilliantly. Sorrowful Star is awash with grey tones, which lighten to luminous white when sympathy for a shivering Mary fills its heart. Children will adore Star’s illuminating facial expressions, as they visually build on the emotional thread that runs through the story. Perhaps the most eye-catching image, though, is the angel who comforts Star early in the book – the celestial visage is beautiful, and the detail in the wings is stunning.

With its universal themes and scintillating protagonist, Star is sure to be enjoyed not only at Christmas but also throughout the whole year. And with each reading, the main message will glow brighter: even the smallest person can make a difference to the lives of others.

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