FIRST STAR-A BEAR AND MOLE STORY. Written and Illustrated by Will Hillenbrand. Holiday House. $17.99.

The latest in Will Hillenbrand’s Bear and Mole books is sure to please. Mole asks Bear to sleep under the sky so they can see the stars. They go on a camping trip, but Mole is afraid to be out in the dark, so Bear tells him the story of First Star. Thus begins an origin tale of how lights came to the night sky told from the perspective of Bear. First Mother Bear and First Little Bear start by digging white clay and shaping it into the moon. Next, they scatter white stones into the sky to become the stars. Finally, First Father Bear presses so hard on one, it cannot move. It becomes First Star, the one that always points north.

Hillenbrand’s art is softly reassuring at times and stunning at others. The backgrounds change from white when it is daylight to purple twilight and deep blue after sunset. Simply drawn, Bear and Mole are sweet and caring friends. The preschool set should enjoy this as a soothing bedtime story, especially considering Bear’s special message, “Dark is not so dark if you know where you are.” The glitter on the cover is a nice touch and should appeal to little ones.

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