Jeffers, Oliver. 2004. HOW TO CATCH A STAR. New York: Philomel. ISBN 0399242864 [Suggested Grade Levels Pre K-1]
Oliver Jeffers’ first book for children is an endearing look at friendship and dreams. In HOW TO CATCH A STAR, a little boy wishes for a star to be his friend. Jeffers uses such simple words and illustrations, yet the story is so fanciful in nature that readers will be captivated by the boy’s determination. The boy tries many inventive and intelligent ways to capture his star from the sky. At first he decides to wait for the star, “He thought that getting up early in the morning would be best, because then the star would be tired from being up in the sky all night.” Once he finally sees a star, he tries jumping, using a life preserver and a rocket ship made of paper to grasp the star but to no avail. Just as the boy is about to give up, he realizes that the best things come to those who wait! He finds a starfish on the beach and is happy to finally have a star of his own.
The relaxing pace of the story is continued with the book’s illustrations. The illustrations are very simplistic; drawings of the boy are almost reminiscent of stick figures. However the bright colors, basic shapes with exaggerated features used give the drawings an abstract feel. The drawings are almost suggestive of a futuristic feel, which fits in nicely with the star fantasy idea.
The little boy in the story rejoiced when he found his starfish. Let children celebrate their own friendships by making a personal photo album with photographs of fellow participating children. Children can also decorate their own starfish cut out of paper to remind them that friends come in all shapes and sizes.
List as a group what personality traits make a good friend exceptional. Write the friendship descriptions on butcher-block paper for display. Students may trace each other’s hands to decorate the remaining paper.
Other stories about friendship:
Carle, Eric. DO YOU WANT TO BE MY FRIEND? ISBN 0399215980
Pfister, Marcus J. THE RAINBOW FISH. ISBN 1558580093
Thompson, Lauren. POLAR BEAR NIGHT. ISBN 0439495245
By Lisa Erickson