Review Blog

Apr 13 2010

The star by Felicity Marshall

cover image

Ford St Publishing, 2010. ISBN 978 1876462 92 5.
Picture book. Recommended. When the dancing and singing wooden doll, Marion, is seduced by stardom, her loyal friends go along, supporting her in her endeavours and striving to keep her feet on the ground as the man with the hat  keeps asking more and more changes from her. Eventually she has a reshaped nose, a chauffeur, bodyguards, someone to reply to the room full of fan mail and no real friends.
But when one day the Man asks her to change again, she falters, turning again to her friends for their help and support, but cannot find them. She has left them along the way and so must search the darker reaches of the city, a far cry from the life she is now living, to gain their help. She finds them in poor circumstances, but instead of questioning what she has done, readily come to her aid, but the whole sequence of events is repeated, and Marion is tossed aside. She joins her friends, a sadder but much wiser person.
A homily for our times when stardom and celebrity status is what many strive for, bolstered by our society's adulation of stars, this book will initiate much discussion among middle school readers, who will be able to readily identify many people that this has happened to. Fame without substance could be applied to many often seen in our newspapers or on television, and an astute teacher will be able to encourage student discussion along that path.
The story is well told and supported by superb illustrations, which highlight incredibly well the disparity between the life of those who have achieved fleeting fame and those without. I loved particularly the illustrations of Marion's face on the advertising hoardings, bright and glossy at the start, contrasting with the picture on the back cover of the tattered and torn poster of her face. The whole page illustration of Marion searching for her friends too, appealed (amongst many) with its contrast between the bright lights of the city and the destitute situation of her friends.
Fran Knight

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