'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday, 8 March 2010

Review: You With the Stars in Your Eyes

Title: You With the Stars in Your Eyes: A little girl’s glimpse at cosmic consciousness

Author: Deepak Chopra

Illustrator: Dave Zaboski

Publisher: Conscious Kids Books (Hay House via Penguin), A$19.95

Format: Hard cover, dust jacket

ISBN: 9781401927110

Type: Picture Book

About: I’ve long been a huge fan of Deepak Chopra, well before his cosmic philosophies and extraordinary grasp on holistic health and wellbeing became ‘mainstream’.

You can imagine, then, how thrilled I was to hear he has released his first children’s picture book – a book designed to open the eyes of little ones, to take in the limitless beauty of a consciousness bigger than our own.

For those who like to keep their feet planted firmly on the ground and find jumping on the cosmic bandwagon a bit of a stretch, never fear. Even if your only God is the pleasure of children’s literature (or ice cream), this book doesn’t aim to convert your children into an orange-robe-wearing sect by page 17.

What is does do, is open the mind. Like the basis behind Chopra’s personal mantra, this book is about connecting ourselves with life. With the world. With the Universe. It is about acknowledging the beauty within – and realising how each one of us makes up a greater whole – and how very special that is.

Little Tara and her grandfather are walking along the beach in the early evening, as the moon peeks over the horizon. When Tara’s grandfather tells her he loves her more than all the stars in the sky, Tara wants to know why.

As her grandfather ponders this weighty question, the moon appears, in human form, on the beach next to Tara and tells her she is loved because she came from the stars – that we are all made from light - and how everything is made of light.

The moon goes on to explain to Tara how light chases away darkness and how the stars have a problem because they have no mirror and cannot see their own beauty, and so they made people’s eyes so they could see themselves in other people's eyes.

A little confused? So am I.

The central message of this book, if I carefully dissect it, seems to be that we are all made of light, that light is love and consciousness, and that we all have the beauty of the stars (life) in our eyes. The author also sends the message that we are all one in the same – and while this idea is absolutely beautiful and vital to impart to our children, the author presents it awkwardly in this book. Alas.

The other disappointment is the illustrations. Although Dave Zaboski is clearly talented, his paintings just doesn’t work in this book. Tara, who is supposed to be six or seven years old, looks like a 45-year-old woman on most pages of this book, making it difficult to connect with the innocence of this ‘little girl’.

The illustrative parts that do work better are the appearance of the sun and moon and stars in human form, and it’s a shame these illustrations aren’t more widely used in the book. What Zaboski also manages to do well is to convey touching emotion in his characters, which helps rescue the portrayal of the central character.

Despite these problems, the message behind You With the Stars in Your Eyes is worth relaying to our children... and most certainly worth relaying to ourselves.

Author website
Illustrator website

This book is available online

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