Written and Illustrated by Bob Graham
Candlewick Press, 2015
It had to start somewhere.
The plot in a nutshell: The sun comes up, after a long journey.
The sun rises over a frozen landscape in the Arctic Circle and moves across the water, helping the wind to blow off a fisherman’s cap. It goes across a beach and through a forest, where it meets some migrating birds and is spotted by a little boy looking out the window of an airplane. It cuts across a city and waits to be let in a window. It travels the countryside, waking animals. It meets up with some rain over a desert. It skips over whole countries and follows a paperboy down a city street on its way to Coco’s house. It bursts into the window, follows her down the hall to her parents’ room and lingers in the kitchen during breakfast. It sticks around to play outside with Coco and her friends and they spend the whole day together.
Author/illustrator Bob Graham encapsulates the beauty of shared experience and the concept of a true global neighborhood in this beautiful story. In prose poetry, he follows the sun as it goes in and out of the lives and paths of people and animals all over the world in its travels. Of course, the book takes the position that this one girl’s house was the sun’s destination, but when reading it, you can’t help but realize that every place it shines is a destination for the sun for today and tomorrow and every day after that. It made me feel connected to everyone and everything to be reminded in such a beautiful way that the same sun shining outside my window right now was playing around with people on the other side of the earth just twelve hours ago.
The artwork is done in ink and watercolor, with subtle details and nothing extra to distract you from what you and the sun are seeing together, which is perfect. I love that we learn the names of a few of the people who find themselves in the sun’s path during its journey. Once again, it brings us closer, especially because these are names that aren’t common American names, so we get the idea that these people are in faraway places. But we don’t need to know the places, because the sun sees it all as one big road. The final pages show Coco and her friends playing under a sunbeam that seems to be directed just at them. I thought this book was lovely and thought-provoking.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that the sun that shines in the sky above you each morning has already taken part in millions of lives.