Book Review: The Starry Starry Night by Jimmy Liao

A while back, I posted up a review on a Taiwanese movie called Starry Starry Night  (check out the review HERE) and I learned that it was based on a storybook. (I think) I also mentioned that I had ordered the book online right away and finally, I received it this week.  Chinese New Year probably was the reason that it was delayed but its okay, as long as its here, right?

My copy of The Starry Starry Night

My copy of The Starry Starry Night

The story is starts with a few simple words: “Looking up into the stars, the world become very very big…” We see a little girl whose used to live with her grandparents when she was young.  After 6 years old, she moved out into the city to live with her parents and she misses her grandfather a lot.  Her parents don’t have a good relationship and are either too busy with work to talk to her or always arguing. However, it doesn’t bother her because she has her own imagination and her own world in her room.

starry night cat

“Last time mom was away on a business trip, she gave me a little cat. Sometimes the little cat will become a big cat.”

When she notices a boy move into the apartment across the street and this boy becomes her classmate eventually, eventually through a course of events they become friends.  When her grandfather dies, her world dies and her parents relationship worsen, she decides to run away with the little boy to see the starry sky in the mountains where her grandfather used to live. Here their magical journey begins…

starry night watermelons

I’ve never been exposed to Jimmy Liao’s books before.  They are simple stories or ideas matched with wonderful pictures.  The pictures helps us fill in the blanks of the story and that way there are less words to transition between the thoughts of our female protagonist.  In the book, the girl and the boy don’t even have a name.  No one actually has a name and is only identified by their relation to our main character.  Some pages are solely pictures without any words but they express what he wants to say perfectly.

starry night swim

The Starry Starry Night may be a picture story book of sorts.  Its a simple read but the meaning behind it is just so much more.  I’m not exactly sure that kids would fully understand it but the drawings are colorful at times and mystical at others.  He uses black or grey to convey a depressing moment and then brighter colors for more hopeful and imaginative times.

starry night flying bus

The movie adapted this book quite well to me.  They did change some minor details here and there but the really fun parts of the book was put into the movie in their own effective way and I think that already works for me.

Its a storybook so I really don’t have much more to say about it.  I read this in Chinese and I’ve heard that its actually not translated into English or other languages (yet?).  I did try to translate the book to my boyfriend while showing him page by page and we’re about halfway done for him.  I read it entirely already.  Although I’m sure that even without really knowing that simple few lines, you will get the idea of the story.

This is my first exposure to Jimmy Liao’s work and I have to say, I really look forward to seeking out more of it.  Its relaxing, fun and beautiful to look at.  His pictures do a great job of telling the story.  The story is full of imagination (just like the movie) and the colors and concepts behind it just blew me away. Its so simple yet there’s something just a little more than that to think about.  I love that feeling!

17 thoughts on “Book Review: The Starry Starry Night by Jimmy Liao

  1. Most great creations are really simple in their essence. Great that you got this feeling from the pictures in the book. Awesome review, as usual, you make everything sound so good! That is a skill to be admired. 🙂


    • Thanks Jon!
      I don’t know…maybe its one to be admired. But I think it comes down to whether I see things too much only for their good. haha! Ah-ha another potential post idea 😉 Anyways, I’m starting to think I should be more of a critic I should start really digging into the bad. But this was really awesome..just so beautiful!


      • Be yourself and that will be fine. Whether you are positive or negative just be yourself. Don’t worry about how what you write will play with other people. You are a great writer, with intelligent thought. 🙂


      • Most of the time, I just wing it Jon…its all I can do. Sometimes I’d like more structure more than being a critic. But I’m slowly learning to see the good and bad things in a movie..its just once you go down that path (in extremity), its harder to appreciate the little good things in movies and books.
        But, I am NOT a great writer..haha! All my English teachers (except one) would definitely agree with me 😉 Thanks for the compliment though, I aim to do that though 😉


      • Why don’t you write about stuff? Thoughts on life, the doppler effect, or anything at all, I think you would be very good at it and would provide insight that is unique and helpful to others. I know you have written about some other things but it would be interesting. I do not care what every English teacher you ever had says, you are good at writing and have a unique perspective. At least I think so. For whatever that is worth. 🙂


      • Jon, your thoughts are worth quite a bit (to me at least). Always love reading your posts and comments 🙂

        I have thought about doing that, its just sometimes hard to find something to talk about. I have a few of those drafted but never completed. Sometimes, its just harder to form my thoughts into words. I’m not sure what I say will be helpful but more seeing what others think on a struggling issue thats been on my mind perhaps.


      • You have to do what you are comfortable with in your writing.I don’t know where your heart lies in your writing. If you are worried that what you say doesn’t sound right, then you are no different than any other person who has ever published a blog or writing of any kind. 🙂 There is always doubt. At some point you have to dive into and see what your voice has to say. I am not saying you should or should not, I think it would be a great option and I get the feeling you have a lot to say. That is all. I will appreciate whatever you do. Because you are great. 🙂


      • Don’t worry, I do those prompts and usually it goes in that area..because of what I choose and stuff. I do intend on going in that direction eventually because that was originally how I had wanted to start my blog. So all that you’ve suggested is definitely something I have thought about. In time, it will happen 😉


  2. Hi Kim! Great review! The book is available in Spanish, thanks to Spaniard publisher Barbara Fiore. I live in Argentina and I am a great fan of Jimmy Liao’s work.


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