Bibliographic Information: Gaiman, Neil. (1999). Stardust. New York: Avon Books.
Plot Description: Tristan makes a promise to his beloved Victoria, that he will bring back a fallen star for her and then they will marry. This promise is the beginning of Tristan’s adventures. He sneaks through the only hole in the wall (which separates his sleepy English town ‘Wall’ from the world of the faeries) in search of the fallen star. The star turns out to be nothing like he expected and together they meet an assortment of unusual and mysterious characters, while braving all sorts of dangers on their journey through the enchanted world of Faerie. To complicate matters, Tristan is not the only one searching for the fallen star, which holds the key to youth, power and dark magic for evil witches in the land. These witches will stop at nothing to take the star from Tristan and destroy her to gain the magic they desire.
Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile Measure: 970L Interest Level: Upper Grades ATOS Book Level: 6.2
Qualitative Reading Analysis: The story contains multiple levels of meaning. The genre is familiar, but the text bends and expands the rules of the genre. Organization adheres to most conventions, but often shifts the readers focus to another perspective, time, place or event before returning to the main characters. The story is told in third person omniscient narration, by a credible voice that provides an appropriate level of detail. The same graphic is used to mark the beginning of each new chapter. The text organization has more than one storyline and is at times difficult to predict. The text has complex sentences with subordinate clauses and transition words. The story explores themes of varying levels of complexity. As it is a fantasy story, experiences portrayed will not be common to readers. Though elements of the story will be familiar, as they are conventions used in fantasy/fairytales that readers likely know.
Content Area: Reading, Literature
Content Area Standard:
English Language Arts Standards for Reading: Literature: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
English Language Arts Standards for Reading: Literature: Key Ideas and Details: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.9
Analyze how an author draws on and transforms source material in a specific work (e.g., how Shakespeare treats a theme or topic from Ovid or the Bible or how a later author draws on a play by Shakespeare).
Curriculum Suggestions: Discuss with students some common elements of fairytales. Have students look for fairytale elements in the novel. Have students write about whether or not they think the novel is a fairy tale, providing textual support to backup their claims, then have students share their ideas in a class discussion.
Supporting Digital Content:
Awards: Publishers Weekly Best Book; Alex Award
Character names/descriptions: Tristan, Victoria his beloved, the beautiful Fallen Star, Evil Witches who want the star for her magic and a number of other strange characters from the faerie realm.
Personal Thoughts: A highly enjoyable, magical adventure. Compelling characters who inhabit an interesting, fantastical world. I highly recommend this story and the film version as well.
High interest annotation: Tristan’s adventures begin when he promises to bring his love a fallen star. Little does he know, the task will take him to a magical world, where he will need all his bravery and cunning to keep the star safe from the others who pursue her.