The Cranky Sun

Jerry Kramsky, Author, Lorenzo Mattotti, Illustrator
Jerry Kramsky, Author, Lorenzo Mattotti, Illustrator Little Brown and Company $16.95 (1p) ISBN 978-0-316-50361-7
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
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The oversized format of this book provides Mattotti (Eugenio) with a flattering venue for his over-the-top artwork, here depicting a village where buildings swoop and swirl and where the people look as loopy as they act. All is color and movement in his fantastic vision. Unfortunately the narrative swerves with even greater abandon, making for a confusing and badly paced tale. In this village a marvelous clock tells the sun when to rise and when to set. One day, the sun determines to take orders no more: she will not go down and the day will not end. Desperate schemes are hatched to compel the sulking sun to go to bed, but all meet with failure until a little boy tries an empathic approach. Kramsky's story spirals forward with little regard for linear plotting (the ""special clock"" fades from the narrative, and a clock's mechanic and a vagabond who knows the langague of birds disappear from the text shortly after they're introduced). The story's moral, that demands do not always bring the best results, is hardly worth the build-up. Not even Mattotti's playful pictures redeem this slender tale. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)
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