Starry light you shine so bright.
Who do I thank for your glow tonight?
Is it the sky or perhaps the moon?
It’s an armadillo crew.
An armadillo crew with a very tall ladder.
When a light goes out, they climb up to see what’s the matter.
From way down below on the surface
we never see them fulfilling this purpose.
But, they scuttle and they shuffle.
They pidder padder to and fro
moving their ladders from light to light
making the stars twinkle so bright.
Why, you ask,
does an armadillo crew care
about the lights in the sky
and the brightness they share?
Well, some time, not so long ago,
there lived a very lonely armadillo.
His name was Gerald. Gerald was very shy.
He lived in a small park in a small house on a hillside.
Gerald was alone and that made him sad.
He wanted a pal or even two wouldn’t be bad.
But, he was afraid to leave his small place
to look for a new fun friendly face.
So, he stayed there and got grumpy and cold,
never trying anything new, never doing anything bold.
Then, one night in his park a star fell from the sky.
To Gerald’s surprise, it landed close to his hillside.
“Hello, I'm Sam. I’m a star. What’s your name?”
“Gerald,” The armadillo said, “Look how far you came?!”
Gerald stared with wonder at the trail Sam had left in the sky.
“Oh, I’ve gone farther than that,” Sam said, “I like to fly.
But, now I’ve crashed. Could you help me get back?”
“Oh. No.” Gerald said, “I can’t. That’s a fact.”
“Please. Please put me back in the sky.
I know you can do it. Just try.”
“Even if I would, and I’m not saying I will,
how do I get up there? I can’t just stand on a window sill.”
“A ladder. You need a ladder,” said Sam,
“One really tall ladder and I’ll be off again.”
Gerald thought for a moment, then a few more.
Then finally, “Ok, I’ll try, but it’s a long shot you know.”
The star got excited as Gerald began gathering wood
from all around his park, everywhere he could.
Every stick, log and fallen tree but there wasn’t enough
to make the ladder reach up where Sam needed to be.
“It’s too short,” cried Sam, “Is there anyone you could call?”
Gerald shook his head not knowing what to do at all.
“There’s another park over there,” Sam said with a smile.
Could you see if anyone there would mind adding to the pile?"
This park was new and Gerald felt scared.
He wanted to help but to go somewhere else, did he dare?
There was no other way and Gerald couldn’t finish the ladder without more wood.
So, he went. It worked! Soon, armadillos all around heard how tall his ladder stood.
They wanted to lend a hand too. A crew building day and night
made the ladder high enough to put the other stars in sight.
Gerald climbed up first and his new friends followed behind
climbing rung after rung way up into the sky.
But when they got to the top,
they were in for a shock.
Sam couldn’t fly.
The crash had put out all of his lights.
“The bulbs make me shine, the shine makes me go,"
Sam said, “Mine are out. So, now, I just don’t know?"
Gerald grinned, which was also something new,
“Don’t worry Sam, I know what to do.”
He climbed all the way down, went to the store,
bought some light bulbs and his new crew went to work.
They carried Sam up the ladder once more.
Sam shot into the sky. Oh, how he soared!
“Thank you! Thank you! You’ve saved me! You Have!"
Gerald and his crew felt pretty good about that.
“Glad to help Sam. You helped me too.
I found friends and finally tried something new."
Sam beamed and said, “I have an idea! If you like,
you could come back to visit and help us stars stay bright?"
That sounded fun. Gerald really liked coming to space
and his friends liked building ladders down at his place.
So, they kept on building, replacing bulbs and making friends,
exploring the sky while they lit it up end-to-end.
All thanks to Gerald for facing his fear and being kind,
for caring about how much one star wanted to fly.
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Text and Illustration copyright © 2017 Jennifer Hart.