They're ugly in ways they pretend not to see!"
The Star Pixie and the Serpent Queen is a children's book written and illustrated by Kent J. Starrett, released on April 25th, 2018. It is a mostly known for its illustrations that walk a thin line between creepy and cutesty and being a touching story about self-acceptance and using creative expression to deal with traumatic life experiences. Though marketed as being for children, its appeal sweeps across the age spectrum widely.
The book's summary reads as such:
"The Star Pixie is a being of pure light and joy; casting her whimsical rays all night and all day on the faraway world of Clarionix. But when a stray comet knocks her right out of the sky, her wonder and beauty are gone for good. Sad and alone, she wanders the surface of her world.....until she meets the Serpent Queen, a creepy, crawly creature with crown, a staff - and an important lesson about facing your hurt head-on, and harnessing it for something beautiful."
The Star Pixie and the Serpent Queen provides examples of:
- All of the Other Reindeer: The Serpent Queen, for no justifiable reason.
- An Aesop: physical beauty is entirely subjective, and thus, pointless to worry about. Only you can decide who you are. And furthermore, nothing worth having comes easy - the hard work of actually improving the world through creativity or giving to others is what truly decides your worth, not what you look like or say.
- Animal Motifs: The Star Pixie is modeled on a type of sea mollusk called Sea Angels, and the Serpent Queen is based on Starrett's own Ball Python.
- Animate Inanimate Object: Clarionix, where the Pixie and the Serpent Queen live alongside various other surreal creatures, orbits a pair of happy, smiling suns and a green moon that drinks rain out of a wine glass and hangs out with both the Pixie and the Serpent Queen.
- Artistic License Space: Clarionix orbits a red star and a black star, which causes the day and night on Clarionix. Also, the suns and moon are anthropomorphized to have eyes, faces and distinct personalities.
- Author Appeal: Kent J. Starrett loves snakes.
- Big Ego, Hidden Depths: The Star Pixie, though it takes the Serpent Queen to summon up her inner strengths.
- Bittersweet Ending: The Serpent Queen sheds her final skin, but the Pixie has learned the value of action over appearance and given beauty to the world through art and hard work by commemorating their friendship forever.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: Serpents, whatever they are on Clarionix, can survive shedding their skin multiple times over, and Star Pixies apparently experience time at a much faster rate, as a few days is described as "Quite a long while, in Star Pixie time."
- Character Development: The Star Pixie.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": creatures are referred to by their species, not personal names. The Suns, the Green Moon, the Star Pixie, the Serpent Queen, etc.
- Heroic Sacrifice: The Serpent Queen gives the Pixie her crown as she sheds her final skin.
- Informed Attribute: The Serpent Queen doesn't seem any more revolting or ugly than anything else in the book, so her status as something so hideous all other creatures run screaming is something we have to be told. See Reptiles Are Abhorrent.
- No Name Given: Is the Star Pixie a name, or a species? What about the Moon of Clarionix, or the Serpent Queen, for that matter? Not all of the creatures are one of a kind, so they can't be the only ones.......right?
- Ominous Fog: The Star Pixie is enshrouded by one when she crash-lands on the surface of planet Clarionix.
- Parental Substitute: It has been argued that the Jade-colored Moon of Clarionix is the Pixie's surrogate father figure, while the Serpent Queen becomes a maternal one.
- Proud Beauty: The Star Pixie, before her little run-in with an angry comet.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Kent J. Starrett is on record stating that people's irrational, comical fear of totally harmless snake species is part of the reason why one of the characters is an Anthropomorphized Snake-woman.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Played straight, in that everything on Clarionix fears the Serpent Queen to the point of panic-stricken terror, and subverted in that she's actually pretty nice, wise and friendly.
- Rhymes on a Dime: The book is written in alternating, rhyming stanzas, clearly influenced by a certain other artist and author.
- Running Gag: A couple of days is apparently a very long time to a Star Pixie, and this gets mentioned repeatedly. Maybe Star Pixies only live a few weeks, like fruit flies?
- Snakes Are Sinister: This can be the only reason everyone despises the otherwise harmless Serpent Queen. That Kent J. Starrett loves snakes might have something to do with it.
- Tear Jerker: The ending, as well as some of the stanzas.
- Weird Weather: The Red Sun rises during the day, and the Black Sun rises during the night.
- What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: The book tackles themes of self-image and trauma in ways more relevant to adults and teenagers than anyone who's just learning to read.