cover image The Color of the Sun

The Color of the Sun

David Almond. Candlewick, $16.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-5362-0785-9

Almond (Skellig) walks the fine line between reality and illusion in this reflective novel about a wandering boy. A few weeks after his father’s death, Davie’s mother urges him to go out into “the lovely world outside that door.” After filling his haversack with childhood mementos and his mother’s delicious bara brith, he sets out to rediscover his British town, Tyneside, which he considers a “dead-end place.” But things are happening: an older boy, Jimmy Killen, is rumored to have been killed. Davie sees the body, but despite warnings of a murderer on the loose, he keeps walking, encountering figures familiar to him: a priest who is questioning his faith; Shonna Doonan and her “sweet and lovely” voice; and Zorro Craig, who is widely suspected to be Jimmy’s murderer. Ghosts, too, including Davie’s father, visit the boy, offering words of wisdom and a heightened awareness of the world’s wonders. Through economic prose expressing Davie’s memories and keen observations, the book subtly shows the protagonist’s grief over losing his father and childhood innocence. Spanning only one day, it evokes the mysteriousness of life, the power of imagination, and moments when childhood and adulthood intertwine. Ages 12–up. [em](Sept.) [/em]