A Bed of Stars by Jessica Love

A Bed of Stars by Jessica Love. Candlewick Press, 2023. 9781536212396

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Format: Hardcover picture book

What did you like about the book? A child introduces the book by saying that they used to have trouble falling asleep, as the universe felt so huge to them. Then, Dad suggests a camping trip together, in order “To shake hands with the universe.” The two of them drive out to the desert, noticing the changing smells as they leave the city. Dad explains the different kinds of flowers they smell, and what they are used for. When they find a place to camp, the first thing they do is to jump barefoot in the sand dunes. So begins the camping trip that changes how this young person feels about the hugeness of space and their place in it. They learn about the birds of the desert, how to build a fire, and to love the stars in the night sky, as they name constellations for people and places they have met.

This sweet and loving book equates getting close to nature to finding peace. The father and child’s (I love that the gender is not specified.) adventure is wonderful in its intimacy, and how the dad teaches, but also plays with, his child. I’m a fan of Jessica Love’s art, and this book, executed in watercolor, gouache and ink, does a lovely job imbuing the desert with colors that bloom in the sand.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book? For fans of the author, ages 4-8, for newbie campers worried about sleeping in the open, and for anyone who needs help finding their “home in the universe.”

Who should buy this book? Elementary school and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Date of review: March 25, 2023

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