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Star of the Sea:

A Day in the Life of a Starfish

(out of print—author has copies)

By Janet Halfmann

Illustrated by Joan Paley

Henry Holt/Christy Ottaviano Books

Ages 4-8, Picture Book, hardcover

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NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book

Junior Library Guild Selection

Chicago Public Library Best of the Best List

Wisconsin Writers Children's Literature Award

Washington Children's Choies Pictue Book Award Finalist

The Story

With the ocean her home, an ochre sea star hunts for her morning meal. She folds over her rays and grips the rocky shore with sticky feet as she feasts on shellfish. When she takes too long, the tide flows back without her and Sea Star becomes easy prey. But she is built to survive and eventually makes her way back to the sea, although with one less ray than before. This inspiring story informs young children about the important role of a small but facinating sea creature.

My Inspiration

I have long been fascinated by sea stars. I think it's because of their star shape and their many colors and designs. Somehow, they seem almost magical! When I started researching them, I found them to be more amazing than I could have imagined. I learned that they can hunt only underwater because they use hundreds of tiny, water-powered feet to move. When hunting on the shore, they have to wait until the tide comes in. I also was surprised to learn that the sea star's mouth is on its underside. You'll have to read the book of find out what the sea star does with its stomach!

Educational Connections

Sea stars, predators and prey, tides, defense adaptations, rocky shore

An "Amazing Sea Stars"section, "Find Out More," and Glossary at end of book

Lesson plan for Star of the Sea: helenesharesciencebooks


"Poetic verse and vibrant colleges characterize this tribute to starfish"—Publishers Weekly

"Joan Paley's bright, blocky collages of the ochre sea star, brick-colored with a lacy pattern on its back, have a cheerful feel, and readers ages 5-9 will probably be inclined to side with the star as it travels the ocean floor repelling enemies and looking for tasty things to eat."—Wall Street Journal


"Paley's beautiful artwork consists of collages of hand-painted paper of watercolor blends and textures."—Kirkus Reviews 


Sta of the Sea book cover
young Janet.jpg
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