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author-illustrator christie matheson’s (2015) touch the brightest star is about the magic that happens at night. the inside front cover’s message “you become the magician” hints at the interactivity matheson creates in this text.
the way matheson composed the text so that readers play a role in constructing the text’s meaning is one worth discussing. readers are encouraged to touch the pages and to interact with the text. this aspect really calls into question the traditional roles of writer and reader. the reader of the book is encouraged to be active rather than passive, and this aspect is one of the book’s strengths. because of the interactivity, however, i hesitate to recommend this book for a whole-class read-aloud. discussions about how the book might change if read to one child versus a whole class could be meaningful.
i also think the didactic nature of the book is another feature to explore. matheson successfully includes the scientific terms (fireflies, moon, and meteor) on the book’s pages but waits until the last page to provide readers with information about key terms in the text. budding children’s book authors might consider discussions about how authors can teach kids without overwhelming them with facts. this book may also be appropriate for parents or teachers who are looking for science texts to share.
a fun read-aloud to an individual kid or a very small group of kids/students, this book was not my favorite. as a poet, i would have liked to see more complex lyrical and poetic language. however, i think children will enjoy the participatory and educational aspects of the book.
i would love to hear what you think of touch the brightest star in the comments below.