Sivu's Six Wishes

Jude Daly, Eerdmans, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8028-5369-1
Daly retells the Taoist tale of Sivu, a stonecutter whose wishes to become increasingly powerful are swiftly granted. Watching jealously, the fickle Sivu wishes to become a businessman, the mayor, the sun, the rain (which blocks the sun), the wind (which blows away the rain clouds), and finally a piece of stone—whereupon he finds himself being hammered on by a stonecutter. Though the story is from ancient China, Daly (To Everything There Is a Season) sets it in modern Africa. Sivu and the people who surround him have an assortment of white and brown faces, cars speed along the highway, and the mayor rides in a white limousine. Spare acrylics are warmed by African oranges, blues, and earth tones. Lighthearted at the start ("What a life!" Daly describes Sivu's career in business. "With the snap of his fingers... he would declare that a shipment of wool was too woolly"), the storytelling darkens progressively ("Soon the country was gripped by drought," says Daly, after Sivu becomes the sun, "and everybody cursed him"). A stark portrait of the futility of envy. Ages 6–10. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/21/2010
Release date: 05/01/2010
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