Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Shelf Awareness--The Star Shepherd

MG Review: The Star Shepherd

The Star Shepherd by Dan Haring and MarcyKate Connolly (Sourcebooks, 320p., ages 8-12, 9781492658207)

Soon after the world was first formed, the Seven Elders hung stars "from hooks fastened to the sky." These stars formed a "wide net of light with beams connecting star to star," in order to shield people from "unspeakable horrors that thrived in the darkness." Centuries later, the original burlap casings began to wear out, and it fell to Star Shepherds to "catapult... the stars back into the sky."

When Kyro's mom died five years ago, his father, Tirin, honored her by sending a star back to the heavens in her name. Tirin became a Star Shepherd, but, as time went on, it seemed as if each newly fallen star became a reminder of his loss. Now, all Kyro wants is to "protect the stars" alongside his father and to be allowed to "feel like a part of his own family again," but Tirin barely even notices his son. When unprecedented numbers of stars begin falling and legendary monsters resurface, Tirin disappears, leaving his beloved watchtower in the hands of his worried son. As days go by and Tirin fails to return, Kyro, accompanied by his good friend Andra and his faithful pup Cypher, sets out to find his father and, while he's at it, discover who's been cutting down the stars.

Haring and Connolly have crafted an inviting fantasy that combines the epic feel of a creation myth with plenty of monsters to fight and monumental wrongs to right. Kyro's love--for his father and for the stars--stays strong and, like the best of heroes, he takes his quest seriously. Originally envisioned as an animated film, this handsome volume is adorned with plenty of spot art and striking, full-page illustrations and is likely to draw in younger middle-grade readers as well as tween fantasy lovers. --Lynn Becker, blogger and host of Book Talk, a monthly online discussion of children's books for SCBWI.

Discover: Kyro, the son of a star shepherd, must find his missing father and figure out why so many stars have begun falling from the sky in this illustrated middle grade fantasy.

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