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A Night Without Stars by James Howe

A Night Without Stars

by James Howe

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When I was a kid, I absolutely loved James Howe's Bunnicula series. So when I found A Night Without Stars, a 1983 children's hospital story, by the same author, I was naturally pretty curious. It's clear from the cover that this is meant to be a Serious Book, in the manner of all those After School Specials and Degrassi episodes from the 80s. Maria has a hole in her heart and has to go to the hospital for surgery. There's she meets a young boy, Donald, who suffers from terrible burns. Because he is an experienced patient, Donald is able to help her through her fears--once she overcomes her prejudices against him.Though this is a fairly well-realized book, it's also almost completely joyless and didactic. The adults here are both useless and clueless; Donald (sensitive, gifted, and pretty much perfect despite his burns) is the only one able to treat Maria's concerns with empathy and respect. The message is simple: don't judge people; be honest with children. I guess that's okay.Unfortunately, the characterization of the young patients is a bit flat and overly simplistic. The only characters who really breathe, who really seem to have any complexity, are Maria's family, whom we hardly see. This was an okay book, one that I could see giving to a child before a hospital visit for a "teaching moment", but not one that I'd recommend for recreation. ( )
  PhoebeReading | Nov 24, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0689808321, Paperback)

Maria Tirone is frightened. She's in the hospital, about to undergo open heart surgery. And no one -- not her friends, not her family, not even her doctors -- can tell her what to expect.

Then she meets Donald, badly disfigured in a fire years before. The other kids in the hospital call him Monster Man, and tell Maria to stay away from him. But Maria sees the human being hidden behind Donald's scars and his bitterness, and finds in him what she needs most of all -- answers to her questions, and a friend.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:20 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

When eleven-year-old Maria must go to the hospital for open-heart surgery, she finds strength in her friendship with a badly scarred burn victim.

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