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Children's Fiction General


by (author) Diana Kolpak

by (photographer) Kathleen Finlay

Red Deer Press
Initial publish date
Nov 2011
General, Imagination & Play, General
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2011
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 6 to 18
  • Grade: 1 to 4


The stars have fallen. They are buried beneath the snow. Meera's need to wake them leads her on a journey through a mysterious landscape that includes ice, water, mist - and a Dream Tree. Along the way to finding the stars, Meera, a clown, encounters a woman carved from wood in a booth, a fellow star-seeker, a mysterious Spinner, a fire-juggler, and more. The determination in Meera's steps and the hope in her heart, along with the support of friends she makes on her journey are all she needs to succeed in her mission to release the frozen stars.

The whimsical and at times frightening world through which Meera moves and the fanciful cast of characters that inhabit it are beautifully portrayed through photographs taken by Kathleen Finlay.

About the authors

Born in Lethbridge, Alberta to a family filled with entertainers and superb storytellers, Diana Kolpak grew up being told she could be anything she wanted to be, so she became a writer, director, and performer who now runs her own theatre company, Whetstone Productions. Her play, Bedtime Stories, is published in Ontario Playwrights: Eight Short Plays. Diana currently lives in Toronto with her husband and, when not on stage or at her desk, can be found happily puttering in her garden.

Diana Kolpak's profile page

Dreaming about the stars, Kathleen Finlay had a wish to illustrate a story filled with circus performers. Based in Toronto, Kathleen happily shoots commercial assignments for various publications and advertisers. Her fine art work has been exhibited in Canada and internationally. Kathleen is currently at work on a new book project about a one eyed girl trying to reach the moon.

Kathleen Finlay's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"In Starfall, Toronto performer, writer, and director Diana Kolpak has transferred her considerable theatrical skills to the page. Enlivened by Kathleen Finlay's striking photography. . . Starfall presents a starkly beautiful, original world. Finlay's images are sophisticated, fantastical, and unique, though a couple of the photos - such as the person caught by the Spinner in a swath of fabric - may be a little disturbing for younger readers. However, Kolpak's lyrical, melodic prose is reassuring, and in spite of its light tone, the story works on two levels: as a whimsical tale about a clown, and as an allegory for the triumph of courage and belief over evil and darkness."
Quill & Quire Starred Review

Librarian Reviews


On her journey through a frozen landscape, Meera, a clown, searches for stars that will return light to her dark winter world. Persisting despite harsh, exhausting circumstances, she meets various characters en route, including a wooden fortune teller, a dream tree and a spinner. Some help her while others present hurdles to be overcome. Using the principles of belief and bravery, she endures until she is shown that the light for which she searches is within her. With this awareness she unleashes the stars and brings an end to winter.

In this esoteric book, readers feel they are in a dream world. The stark land, the strange, remote characters and the use of haunting, melodic refrains combine to create an illusory, sometimes menacing atmosphere. This quality is reinforced by extravagant costumes and fanciful made-up faces but mostly through the beautiful photographic images of lonely figures trudging through surreal, harsh landscapes.

A first children’s book for Diana Kolpak and photographer Kathleen Finlay, Starfall can be read as a simple quest story but is more overtly an allegory for the triumph of good over evil and the need to endure in order to achieve one’s goals. This duality of purpose does not always flow smoothly and in some areas has weakened the plotline, detracting from an otherwise intriguing and original concept. Nevertheless, this title will make a handsome and thoughtful addition for large and special libraries or in classrooms where there is an opportunity to discuss the ideals encompassed within the story.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Spring 2012. Volume 35 No. 2.

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