Cover image for A song of stars : an Asian legend
A song of stars : an Asian legend
Birdseye, Tom.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Holiday House, [1990]

Physical Description:
32 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 22 x 28 cm
Although banished to opposite sides of the Milky Way, the princess weaver and the herdsman reunite each year on the seventh day of the seventh month.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PZ8.1.B534 SO 1990 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Although banished to opposite sides of the Milky Way, the princess weaver and the herdsman reunite each year on the seventh day of the seventh month.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 3-5. In this intriguing tale of tragic love, Birdseye provides a subdued retelling of a Chinese myth about the stars Vega and Altair, which is the inspiration for Chi Hsi, the Festival of the Milky Way in China, and for Tanabata, the Weaving Loom Festival in Japan. When Princess Chauchau, who weaves the shimmering threads of the firmament, and Newlang, the herdsman, fall in love, they neglect their important duties. As punishment, the Emperor of the Heaven banishes them to opposite sides of the Milky Way and decrees that they will be allowed to meet only once a year. When the seventh night of the seventh month finally comes, Newlang attempts to reach his wife but is forced back by the turbulent river of stars. The merciful emperor then sends the magpies to create a bridge that enables Chauchau to join her husband for the night. The highly stylized, full-color paintings have colors and patterns that appear rich and bold during the lovers' union and muted yet lyrical during their separation. Although the sense of design and harmony is strong, there is an unusual emphasis on the woman's figure, and, in one instance, mentions the princess in the text but depicts Newlang in the illustration. An afterword contains detailed information on the story and its related Asian holidays. A handsome picture book for older readers. Author's note appended. --Julie Corsaro

Publisher's Weekly Review

In China and Japan, celebrations are held in honor of love and in memory of the two star-crossed lovers who appear in this gently told adaptation of the Asian legend. Princess Chauchau, a weaver, falls in love with the herdsman Newlang, but when the lovers neglect their duties, they are condemned by the Emperor of the Heavens to live on either side of the Milky Way and meet only once a year--on the seventh day of the seventh month. When rain prevents them from crossing the river of stars, the Emperor, approving of the love that was so ``strong and sure, full of trust and warmth,'' sends a flock of magpies to make a ``gently rustling bridge of birds'' so they can be reunited for one day. Reminiscent of Brian Wildsmith's work, Chen's strong, brightly colored geometric designs and Birdseye's quiet tone provide the perfect accompaniment for the lovers who sing ``the same soft song of love for all to hear.'' Ages 4-8. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-4-- Chauchau, princess-weaver of the firmament, and Newlang, ox-herd, fall in love, and the Emperor of Heaven decrees that they shall marry. When their love distracts them from their work, the angry Emperor orders their separation--only once yearly will the herdsman cross the Milky Way to meet his love. On the appointed night a storm keeps them apart, but the merciful Emperor facilitates their reunion. The Emperor's actions seem arbitrary and harsh but are not criticized; in the forefront is the romantic and melancholy theme of lovers' unsatisfied longing. Both story and illustrations might appeal more to an adolescent than an elementary audience. Ju-Hong Chen's paintings move from bright and saturated hues for the happy lovers and the Emperor to a range of pale and blue-tinged shades during their yearning loneliness. The mosaiclike stylization of the pictures recalls popular art of the 50s; this abstraction succeeds in creating an otherworldly atmosphere, but it also distances readers from the drama and emotion of the tale. --Patricia Dooley, University of Washington, Seattle (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.