Reviews /

Fletcher and the Stars

Authored by Julia Rawlinson
Illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke
Published by Graffeg

Tagged , , ,

Fletcher and the Stars is a charming adventure story for young children, which follows Fletcher and his friends in a bid to restore the stars to the temporarily cloudy sky. This is Fletcher’s eighth outing in a series of picture books, illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke, and features the seasonal changes of the natural world.

As Fletcher walks through the woods, he meets other creatures who offer to help him in his bid to reach the sky and clear away the clouds. A badger who is scared of the dark, a sleepy squirrel, and a rather clumsy owl all join in Fletcher’s quest but their attempts fail. The woodland setting is beautifully evoked, not only by the illustrations but also by the rich language and use of alliteration and repetition: Badger is ‘prickle-pawed‘ and the animals go ‘sliding on icy puddles, tumbling through scrunchy leaves.‘ The story is based on the companionship of the animals as they support each other and persevere, despite initial setbacks. The book could act as a model for discussing empathy.

I think the book would be enjoyed by young children at bedtime and could also be a successful read during circle time in school. The overall mood is created by the warmth of the characters and the contrast of the frosty night which seems to suggest the mid-winter period. I found that some of the author’s phrases were particularly evocative, such as, ‘the dance of the distant, twinkling stars‘ under ‘the ice-bright moon‘.

As children become aware of the changing seasons and weather conditions, Fletcher and the Stars would be a valuable picture book to help with discussing these changes and as a lead to encouraging children to observe their local environment more closely.