The Same Stuff as Stars

by Katherine Paterson
256 pages,
ISBN: 0618247440

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Children's Books
by Jeffrey Canton

Katherine Paterson weaves wonder into her fiction. She's able to cast a line from her imagination out to young readers, drawing them into the midst of worlds totally unlike any other they've ever encountered.
Eleven-year-old Angel Morgan isn't sure how she's going to cope with what's happening in her world. She and her little brother, Bernie, have been cast adrift, left with their ancient great-grandmother in her capacious but totally neglected Vermont farmhouse in the absolute middle of nowhere. Their mother, Verna, has gone off for god knows how long and who knows where with her new boyfriend. It's never been easy for Angel¨she's been taking care of Bernie all of her young life as Verna's never been quite up to tackling the responsibilities of motherhood and has even abandoned them before. Their daddy is in prison and can't offer any help and Angel's determined to make the best of this decidedly problematic situation¨she has to, in part, because she doesn't want to go back into the foster care system. But things are awfully tight for Great Grandma money-wise and Verna certainly doesn't appear to be making any noises about coming back for them. What saves Angel is wizened Miss Liza, the librarian who feeds Angel's love for books and reading, and the mysterious star man who yearns to share his passion for the heavens with this engaging youngster who has been so badly let down by the adults in her life. This is an evocative and emotionally rich tale by a writer who never shirks from a tough story. It will especially appeal to fans of Jean Little's award-winning Willow and Twig¨a very different story but full to the brim with the same compassionate heart.

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