- Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
A chipmunk explores both the real world and a dream world in Pinkney's illustrated version of the popular lullaby. A dandelion seed "star" sparks the chipmunk's curiosity ("How I wonder what you are!") and he follows its path, observing other [End Page 220] natural objects—flowers, dewdrops, and fireflies—along the way. As evening falls, the chipmunk finds an empty robin's nest and, in a dream sequence, uses it as a boat to sail away into the sky where actual stars and the moon are seen. The chipmunk's boat then tips him out, and he falls onto a lily pad where he spies a white water lily before being jostled into the water by a fish. Luckily, he is rescued by a white swan, who flies him up to the moon, while the last page shows him asleep in his own nest. While there is a pleasant sense of end-of-day wind-down to the book, it's rather confusing and muddled, both in concept and illustratively. The connection between the dandelion fluff (and the other natural objects) and the "star" of the lullaby lyrics is a shaky one, and that and the abrupt leap from realism to fantasy will go over the heads of young audiences. The warm, naturalistic detail of Pinkney's art (in pencil, watercolor, and colored pencil) will appeal to nature-lovers, and his chipmunk is a fetching little guy. Some of the dense spreads are hard to read visually, especially when the chipmunk is placed against a background of a similar color value. Adults could certainly use this as a bedtime or storytime book, but it might be more successful and enjoyable without the text. There's oddly no mention of Ann and Jane Taylor, the authors of the original poem, anywhere in the book, but a detailed note does explain Pinkney's artistic and adaptive decisions.