Triple Dip 1: stars & belonging

The 3 titles of each TRIPLE DIP make a yummy mix of genres and stages of literary sophistication. Stages are not the same as ‘reading levels’ because quality books always work in some fashion for all readers no matter the word count or available ELA skills. Read more here.


Sophie and Little Star by Amber Hendricks (2018), picture book, 30 pages
When a little star falls from her home in the sky, she finds help from an unexpected friend. Together, the new friends search for a way to send Little Star home, but soon discover that not everyone you meet is kind, or helpful. Little Star begins to wonder if she’ll ever find a way home, and if she does, will she be able to leave her new friend, Sophie, behind?

Stardust by Neil Gaiman (1996), fantasy, 256 pages
In the tranquil fields and meadows of long-ago England, there is a small hamlet that has stood on a jut of granite for 600 years. Just to the east stands a high stone wall, for which the village is named. Tristan Thorn promised to bring back a fallen star. So he sets out on a journey to fulfill the request of his beloved, the hauntingly beautiful Victoria Forester—and stumbles into the enchanted realm that lies beyond the wall of his English country town. Rich with adventure and magic, Stardust is one of master storyteller Neil Gaiman’s most beloved tales.

Find the Constellations by H.A. Rey (2016), nonfiction, 72 pages
Explore star charts, a constellation guide, and details about seasons and the movement of the objects we see in the sky. This classic book makes H. A. Rey’s passion for astronomy evident on every page. New scientific information and other updates concentrate on the planetary and solar system information. Facts and figures for each planet have been revised. There’s also a brand-new online resource that allows readers to track the positions of the planets in the night sky till the year 2100!

Story summaries were gently adapted from Amazon, book blurbs, & author sites.


SCOOP 1 – Students cut out large paper stars. Add book-related details on both sides. Use 1 word or phrase per star point to describe:

  1. book theme
  2. main character
  3. writing style
  4. key facts learned
  5. plot twist
  6. setting
  7. life lesson learned
  8. favorite quote

Decorate both sides, add the title & author, punch a hole, and hang from the ceiling to create a class constellation. Varied string lengths look nice.

Upgrade:  Make 3-D stars with the practically-no-prep template from my store here.

SCOOP 2 – As a group decide a book rating system based on stars. Define key elements that would earn a book 1-star through 5-stars. For each book read, each person will:

  1. Rate the book with 1 to 5 stars.
  2. Prepare a 1-3 sentence explanation of the rating (based on rating definitions & details from the book).
  3. Discuss and/or write the rating and a 1-3 sentence review.
  4. Design a book rating & review poster or joint bulletin board. Option: Use the Stars Easy Cut-out Page at my store here.

SCOOP 3 – Make a constellation for your book based on a character, theme, or other important element of the book you read.

Cut out ~12 stars (or use my Stars Easy Cut-Out Page). Arrange the stars on dark blue or black poster board to represent the important book element you chose. Connect the stars with a few straight white lines to show the complete constellation. Name your constellation. Add a brief caption to explain how it represents the book. Bonus: measure the angles in your shape.

The CHERRY on TOP – Give a superstar gift.

Create another star (here’s the 3-D template option) as a gift for somebody. Label one star, “You Shine So Bright because…” or “You are A BIG STAR in my life because…” On the 2nd star, provide a personal reason that the recipient is a super star who helps you feel you belong in an important way. Decorate! Share the gift.

Now put the books aside. It’s time for…

A (real) Tasty Ice Cream Treat to Share

As a special treat for my blog readers, each Triple Dip post includes a real ice cream dessert recipe  to fit some aspect of the theme. Get ready to enjoy some

Ice Cream STAR Sandwiches*

ice cream sandwich star
Photo by DonnaHay.com.au

Kitchen Aids:  ~3″ star cookie cutter, ice cream scoop, baking sheets, knife/spreader, plastic wrap; oven, freezer

Ingredients:  For every 6 cookies you need…

  1. 1 roll refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  2. 6 scoops ice cream
  3. sprinkles – think shiny (silver) and bright (yellow)


  1. Roll out dough and cut out 12 star-shaped cookies.
  2. Bake according to package directions. Let cool.
  3. Place 1 scoop of ice cream on a cookie. Spread it to an even level to all 5 tips.
  4. Cover with a 2nd cookie. Neaten the edges with a knife.
  5. Tap or roll sandwich edges in sprinkles.
  6. Wrap sandwich in plastic. Freeze ~30 minutes to firm up for easy eating.

Option:  Instead of steps 3 & 4, try rolling out the ice cream onto a baking sheet. Refreeze, then cut out stars for the sandwich filling.

*This recipe is a combo-adaptation of this recipe and this one. Click through for their stellar variations.

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