CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 20 . . . .May 25, 2007
The Boy From the Sun is a very minimalist picture book, with few words and mainly black and white line drawings. The lack of colour and style is deliberate as the author wants to emphasize the difference between the drabness of life without the sun and the riot of colour and life that comes with the sun. When the "boy from the sun" appears, the pages spring into many colours. It ends with a poem that declares "You are splinters of the sun,/you are worth celebrating/you are worth elevating...." It continues: "Then Chance and Choice and Change/Will spring like grass..." suggesting that, with an acceptance of one's worth, all is possible.
My problem with this picture book is that I feel the philosophy expressed, while it is worthy, is beyond the understanding of very young children, and yet the book looks like a book designed for young children. Possibly it is meant to be used with older children who are having a problem with self-worth or who, as reluctant readers, may feel like underachievers. With these children, I feel it might be quite effective, but I wonder if they would ever pick it up?
The art work, also by Duncan Weller, is interesting once one realizes that the book progresses from an almost complete lack of colour and style to a profusion of colours and images.
Recommended with reservations.
Helen Norrie is a former teacher-librarian who writes a regular children's book review column in the Winnipeg Free Press.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.