April 07, 2011

Little Star by Anthony DeStefano - Not What I’d Hoped For

I ordered “Little Star” because I have fond childhood memories of another book called “The Tiniest Christmas Star.” I had hoped that this would be in a similar vein.

However, this story was disappointing. The story is about a little boy who is looking up into the sky trying to find the Christmas star from when Jesus was born. So his father tells him the story of the Christmas star. It starts out as a cute story about a tiny star that the other stars ignore or make fun of, kind of like a “Rudolph” story. The tiny star sees Mary and Joseph on their way to Bethlehem and sees that nobody will let them in, and empathizes with them. Then, Baby Jesus is born, the tiny star is concerned that Jesus will be cold, so he shines as brightly as he can to warm the baby. The other stars tell him to stop or he’ll burn himself out, but the little star can’t hear them. All through the night the star shines and warms the baby, and in the morning, the star is all gray and cold because he burned himself out.

The little boy is sad that Little Star is dead, but his father says no.

“You see, Little Star did a wonderful thing that night in Bethlehem. He gave his life so the baby Jesus could be warm. And God gave him a great reward in return. Little Star will be remembered forever and ever.”

“You mean Little Star isn’t gone?” the boy asked.

“No, he’s alive!” the father said. “Every Christmas, when we celebrate Jesus’ birthday, people all over the world place a star on top of their Christmas tree to remember him.”

Okay. It’s a cute story. Sure, it’s a super fictionalized account of the story behind the Christmas star. The problem I have with it, is that while it alludes to Christ’s sacrifice so that we might live, the story’s focus at the end is on the STAR, rather than on JESUS. It just left me feeling rather... I dunno... empty, I guess. Maybe the disappointment was that I really loved the story up until the last 2-3 pages, and then it felt as though the narrative suddenly fell flat or turned a corner and left me behind. Also, we know that the star shone for YEARS, (and moved oddly) because the wise men followed it for a very long time and didn’t find Jesus until he was around 2, so the whole supernova thing hasn’t really ever made a lot of sense to me. Even type II supernovae only really last for a few months. But I digress.

-cute fictional story about the Christmas Star
-tells the story of Jesus’ birth from a different perspective
-gets the details about Jesus’ birth correct
-as I said earlier, alludes to Jesus’ sacrificial death (and sort of His resurrection)
-great illustrations
-my 2 year old LOVES it - good length and number of words per page

-very fictionalized story about the Christmas Star, posing as a true story
-focuses on the star rather than on the true meaning of Christmas

Maybe I’m being nit-picky... but something about the way the author chose to end the story really bothered me. I’m sorry, I really wanted to like this one.

I received this book for blogger review through the Blogging For Books Program. They asked for nothing other than an honest review, but the FTC requires that I make that clear.

No comments: