Sun – written and illustrated by Alison Oliver

 Sun – written and illustrated by Alison Oliver, Clarion, 9781328781628, 2019

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3

Format: Hardcover picture book

What did you like about the book?  Sun loves to play soccer, but he’s put aside making art, which he used to love. A sad walk down to the beach with his soccer ball ends with him making friends with a winsome fox. Together they make beautiful art out of found flotsam. When the lovely day ends, Sun returns home and pulls his little brother Pablo into the fun of creating. I really enjoyed the colorful watercolor and collage illustrations, especially the large center double page spread of Sun meeting the fox. Sun and his brother are both children of color, so the book would be a good addition for those looking for more diversity in their collections. The overall message that boys can enjoy sports and art is a positive one and the objects that Sun and his brother make are really cool and look like the handiwork of little boys: a robot, a dragon and a mobile of the galaxy.

Anything you didn’t like about it? The illustrations are gorgeous, but the storytelling doesn’t live up to the visuals. The word choice is pretty bland so the illustrations really have to do double-duty. I was confused by the appearance of the fox. Was he make-believe? Are foxes known to be arty? The use of Pablo’s name late in the text also threw me; I had to go back to figure out he was the brother.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Kids with make-believe friends, kids interested in art (especially found object art), beachcombers.

Who should buy this book? Public libraries

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA

Date of review: June 19, 2019


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