“A lovely tale about bringing together a community to celebrate the beauty of the night sky”
Mabel is fascinated by the stars and by her grandfather’s stories about his life growing up on the prairie, where he could see thousands of them. Disappointed by the mere thirty-seven stars she can see from the tree in her yard, Mabel and Grandpa embark on a quest to find more stars, first by going to the end of the street, then by seeking their neighbors’ help in making the sky darker by turning out their lights. Their quest becomes a full-blown community effort as various townspeople join in Mabel and Grandpa’s attempts to persuade the mayor to turn off the streetlights, culminating in a new tradition of stargazing each month at the new moon. The tender and supportive relationship between grandfather and granddaughter speaks to the power of multi-generational relationships in creating meaning and purpose for both. Mabel’s sincerity and authenticity, combined with her persistence and problem-solving, give young readers an example of positive community activism at their level and highlights the impact that a single person can have in galvanizing a larger group. Davenier’s fluid and colorful ink illustrations are light-hearted and wonderfully portray Mabel’s young optimism and vigor, as well as the marvels of the sky.
A grandpa’s memories of brilliant night skies inspire a little girl to take action in a tale for budding community organizers and star lovers alike.
Mabel loves stars. She counts five from her window and thirty-seven from her backyard. But her grandfather tells her that, as a child, he could see thousands. Could it be true? Mabel climbs a hill looking for more stars – only to discover that the glow from the nearby town makes them hard to see. What would it take for her neighbors to turn off their lights, just for one night, so that everyone could see the starlit sky? Sue Soltis’s tale of a young activist and Christine Davenier’s luminous illustrations will leave readers curious about the dark-sky movement – and the wonder that is waiting for them just up the street.
As a young girl growing up in Tours, France, Christine Davenier loved listening to her older sister read fairy tales aloud. But she frequently found herself wondering, What does the princess’s beautiful dress look like? or How exquisite are her jewels? Christine was left to her own imagination, for the books had few illustrations. So it comes as little surprise that today, Christine embraces her career as an illustrator. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to create the illustrations I dreamed about seeing as a child,” she says. When Christine was fourteen, she received her first box of watercolor paints, a gift from her grandmother. That was the beginning of many afternoons spent painting together in her grandmother’s garden. “My grandmother was an extraordinary woman,” Christine says. “Even though she worked in an office all her life, she was an artist through and through. She shared everything she knew about color—in painting and in life. Her wisdom and talent still inspire me today.” She has illustrated many picture books, including The Other Dog by Madeline L’Engle and The Very Fairy Princess series by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton. Christine lives in Paris, France.