Book Review: Bright Star by Yuyi Morales
The book follows a young whitetail fawn living with her mother in a desert borderland. All around are flora and fauna typical of her home all sorts of cacti (including ones with flowering prickly pears), hummingbirds, dragonflies, hares, quail, bats, moths, and more. The young fawn is an "hermosa creatura," a beautiful creature.
She and her mother set out to explore their home, but something is afoot! "Look and listen," the mother deer advises her daughter. "Be alert!" Lying low to escape danger, the mother deer instructs her beloved fawn to breathe slowly, and reminds her that she is loved; she is a "bright star inside our hearts."
But mother deer recognizes that her fawn may be afraid, or feel hurt inside. In that case, mother deer encourages her daughter to "shout it loud!" It is important to say NO! when confronted with injustice, here represented by the very real wall on the southern U.S. border.
No matter the obstacle, her mother reminds her, she is not alone. "Listen...sometimes the silence tells you secrets." What secrets, what lessons, will the fawn learn? What kind of story will she tell?
The sparse text of the book is appropriate for even very young preschoolers or toddlers. It is measured and poetic, with Spanish interspersed throughout. This is a cozy book to read before bedtime, and would make an ideal gift for a new baby's home library.
But, oh! The illustrations!
Once again, Yuyi Morales has given us an extraordinary work of art. Created using acrylic paint, photography, digital art, and textile work, Bright Star is a visual feast. How many textures, tones, and details can you spot?
The variety of animals and plants represented in the book would make this book a welcome addition to a classroom unit on desert habitats. It can also be used in the dual language English/Spanish classroom, as Bright Star has also been simultaneously published in a Spanish language edition, available for checkout from Nashville Public Library.