“One Little Star”

[Big Bird] One little star
All alone in the sky
Do you ever get lonely
As the twilight drifts by?

[Susan] One little star
In the darkening blue
Do you long for another
Just the way that I do?
[As she sings, Linda asks in ASL: “What’s she saying?” Gordon signs back: “She’s singing a lullaby for Big Bird.”]

[Snuffy] Sky begins to fill
Darkness ends the day
Someone who I love is far away

[Susan] One little star
Reaching far through the night
Do you shine on my someone?
Are we sharing your light?
Oh, one little star
Shine on us both tonight

[BB, spoken] Gee, I wish Oliva was here to sing me a lullaby, and Snuffy was here and we’d be together. I wonder what they’re doing tonight.”
[BB] One little star
[Susan and Snuffy, echo] One little star
[BB] Reaching far through the night
[Susan] Reaching far through the night
[Snuffy] Far through the night
[BB] Won’t you shine on my someone
[Susan and Snuffy] Shine on my someone
[BB] So we’re sharing your light?
[Susan] Oh please, share your light
[Snuffy] Ahh ahh, ahh ahh
[all] Oh, one little star
Shine on us all tonight

Written by Jeff Moss

“One Little Star” from Follow That Bird

On every previous viewing of Follow That Bird, however many countless times in my life I’ve seen it, I would’ve told you every time that “I’m So Blue” is the saddest song in the film, maybe even in all of Sesame Street canon. This time around, it was “One Little Star” that gutted me.

Much like “Somewhere Out There” from An American Tale, I always thought it was lonely but hopeful; the young heroes are separated from their families, but they’re completely sure they’ll be reunited someday.

This time around, I found myself relating to Olivia. The adults (and various Muppets) of Sesame Street are out looking for Big Bird. Best case scenario, he’s found some friendly strangers who help him along the way. But the worst case scenario is too terrible to comprehend. Big Bird is six years old, all alone, and hundreds of miles away from those who love him.

I imagine Olivia, Gordon, and Linda camping out for the night somewhat reluctantly. I imagine Gordon feeling like they should keep driving all night to look for him, that every minute not spent out looking was a minute wasted. I imagine Linda gently reasoning that this is a long journey and they need to rest, even if their anxious minds won’t really let them sleep. I imagine Bob pacing the floor of Hooper’s Store as he tries not to stare at the map, his mind reeling with every possible danger in the 900+ miles between Illinois and New York—if Big Bird’s even headed in the right direction. I imagine Maria replaying Big Bird’s letter over and over in her head, hating herself for not having done something sooner, before it was too late.

I imagine Olivia, sitting silently in the unbearable unknowing, until her heart is going to burst and this lullaby spills out of her, a fervent prayer, a desperate plea.

For anyone who’s ever had to live in that awful liminal space, that unbearable unknowing…

Oh, one little star
Shine on us all tonight


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