The Stack

by Vanessa Roeder (Author) Vanessa Roeder (Illustrator)

Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

From the creator of The Box Turtle comes a clever and stunningly illustrated bedtime story about doing (and building!) whatever it takes to reach for the stars Luna begins her stack with a single chair. But it's not quite tall enough. So she adds a stool, then some books . . . and her bed . . . and before she knows it, she's thrown a pile of plates, a bathtub (currently occupied), and a whale up there too. And yet the stack still isn't tall enough.

Finally, after she flings and slings bigger and wackier things into the stack, and then climbs and stretches just so, she is able to reach into the sky for just what she wants: a star of her own to use as a night-light!

Publishers Weekly

Tucked under the covers in her top-floor bedroom, brown-skinned Luna says of the eerie deep purple night, "It's too dark!" But instead of waiting for someone older to brighten things, Luna takes a single red chair and starts stacking increasingly improbable items, one on top of another. But to what end? As she builds the pile, Luna exhibits ever more impressive feats of strengths and ingenuity. With a backward overhead throw, she tosses a claw-footed bathtub occupied by "her tallest friend"--a pink-skinned bather--to the top of the stack, then follows up by hurling items including "grandpa's station wagon" (a classic woodie) and a dragon; she also slingshots a whale and catapults a neighbor's house. When the stack reaches into the night sky, Luna clambers to the top, grabs a star, and brings it home to be her night-light. Through it all, Roeder's (The Box Turtle) mixed-media art combines a miniaturist's precision with a playful sense of scale and perspective. Readers can fully appreciate every item Luna employs to reach her goal, and see how her achievement stacks up against her diminutive, footed-pajama stature. Ages 4-8. Agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Feb.)

Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

K-Gr 2--Luna wants to catch a star, but she's too short. That doesn't stop her, and she begins to stack objects to get her closer and closer to the stars. Her stack starts like many climbing stacks do--with a chair and some books. But soon, Luna finds she needs more height, so she adds a whale, a car, a pirate ship--and so much more!--until she finally grabs one star to take back to her room. Roeder has written and illustrated a fun story about a young girl's fear of the dark--and how she uses her imagination to soothe her fear. Using shifting perspective in the illustrations to emphasize just how high Luna has to climb, the colorful artwork captures the creativity and movement of her tossing funny, unexpected objects onto the stack. The text and art take on a momentum and direction, moving readers along, up, and down, and all around. VERDICT Save for noisy story hours, for while young readers will enjoy discovering what Luna finds to toss on the stack next--they may have suggestions for contributions of their own.--Jessica Schriver, Rutgers Univ., Camden, NJ

Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"This fanciful picture book has a charming nighttime setting made of intricate mixed-media art, and Roeder's night sky is resplendent with multi-colored stars and a glowing crescent moon. Rhyming verse gives this story a lulling, peaceful effect, but viewers will have a lot to watch for in background details." — The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Vanessa Roeder
Vanessa Roeder is an author and illustrator whose work has been featured in Highlights magazine and on Apartment Therapy. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and three kids.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
March 20, 2022

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