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Joe and the Stars by Phil Cummings and Connah Brecon

Title: Joe and the Stars

Author: Phil Cummings and Connah Brecon

Genre: Fiction Picture Book

Publisher: Scholastic Australia

Published: February 2021

Format: Hardback

Pages: 32

Price: $24.99

Synopsis: Ages 3+

  • New from award-winning author Phil Cummings and dynamic illustrator Connah Brecon
  • A tender tale of a country boy’s love of the stars, and how they help him create a new life with his family in the city
  • Timely themes: resilience, overcoming loss and separation, inventiveness, family, community, friendship, stars, moving to a new house, rural life, city life

In the red dust, where the sky is wide,
Joe loves watching the stars.
He marvels at their mystery and wonder. But when his family moves to
the city . . . the stars are hard to see.
Will Joe find a way to make them shine again?

A twinkling tale of resilience, family and friendship.


Joe loves to look at the stars at night. He can see every single one as he lies in bed. But one day, his family packs up their farm to move to the city, where the night lights take over the stars. Joe can no longer see the stars at night. As he navigates his new world and home, he begins to wonder how he can see the stars again. With a little inventiveness, and help from a new friend, Joe finds a way to see the stars, and as he does, finds a way to adjust to his new life.

This is one of those sweet and tender books aimed at ages three and older, and works well for all kids who have had to move away from all they know, make new friends, and find themselves separated from all they knew, and those they’ve known their whole lives. Whilst this story is simply told, it is accessible and useful for all ages – sometimes, kids just need a short story like this to let them know that they are not alone, and that friendship is powerful and can be found wherever you go.

Joe and the Stars also contrasts the rural life and life in the city – there are some very obvious differences, but at the same time, each evokes a sense of family, friendship, and community – and shows that some things may never change, yet sometimes, change is good and can bring about new adventures and experiences.

Adults and children cope with change differently, but stories like this let us all know that we are not alone, and that everyone deals with some kind of change throughout their lives, at various stages of their lives and for different reasons. It is a simply told, yet powerful story with poetic and evocative language that explains how Joe is feeling without talking down to kids and allowing space for them to feel what they are feeling in their own lives.

A great book to read when you and your kids are at a crossroads and your lives are changing – whether that’s moving, going to school, or any other kind of change, as Joe and his love of the stars can be used to explain and help cope with any number of changes.

2 thoughts on “Joe and the Stars by Phil Cummings and Connah Brecon”

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