The Star, by Felicity Marshall

Marion, Harley and Polka the dog were three loyal friends who were always together. They played happily near their home on the beach, with the sound of the sea always in their ears. But Marion was listening to a different song.
She secretly longed for adventure.

Marion and her friends live under the pier and perform for their friends. Harley and Polka the dog are content, but Marion wants more. She’s seen the stars on television and their world looks so much brighter than hers. When a little bird tells her she has the makings of a star, she’s very keen to believe it. And it happens, facilitated via the manipulation of unseen others. Marion is gradually transformed until there is little of the under-the-pier Marion remaining. And that means that there is little room for her friends. Though they try to stay with her, Harley and Polka are lost amidst the glamour and excitement of her new life. Illustrations are watercolour pencil and in a mix of colour and black and white.

The opening spread of The Star shows Marion and her friends in full colour in what appears an ideal setting. Yet in the following spread the only colour is on the television and suddenly Marion, Harley and Polka are leached to black and white. Her friends also seem to decrease in size as Marion’s star rises. As if Marion is blinded by the spotlight that frames her, she is unable to see any shadows. There are strong themes about friendship and the superficiality and artificial nature of fame. But although the picture painted is bleak, the resolution provides hope. Hope for Marion and her friends at least, although there is a reminder that it’s impossible to ever be quite the same. Recommended for middle-primary readers and older. Plenty of material in both text and illustration for classroom discussion.

The Star

The Star, Felicity Marshall
Ford St Publishing 2010
ISBN: 9781876462925

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

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