There’s a Little Black Spot on the Sun Today

Sting, illus. by Sven Völker. NorthSouth (IPS, dist.), $19.95 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7358-4238-0
Inspired by the 1983 song “King of Pain” by The Police, artist and graphic designer Völker honors a difficult time in his young son’s life with this picture-book representation of the pain the boy suffered during a serious illness. The lyrics by composer, musician, and former Police front man Sting offer a litany of painful images from nature and folklore: “There’s a blue whale beached by a springtime’s ebb/ There’s a butterfly trapped in a spider’s web/ There’s a king on a throne with his eyes torn out/ There’s a blind man looking for a shadow of a doubt.” Völker pairs the words with scenes constructed of boldly contrasting geometric shapes, mostly triangles along with a few hexagons, trapezoids, and parallelograms (triangular drops of blood drip from the triangular hand of a disembodied person on an early page). Though the book’s overarching theme evokes sadness and anguish, readers will enjoy the puzzle-decoding elements in the artwork, and the book’s head-on approach to the reality of pain offers a jumping off point for discussions of feelings, both physical and emotional. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/03/2015
Release date: 10/01/2015
Genre: Children's
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