cover image Sun Moon Star

Sun Moon Star

Kurt Vonnegut, illus. by Ivan Chermayeff. Triangle Square, $22.95 (64p) ISBN 978-1-60980-724-5

Long out of print, Vonnegut’s only book for children—a 1980 interpretation of the Nativity story—returns in a new edition, again paired with graphic designer Chermayeff’s cutout shapes of stars, suns, and moons, set against deep blue backgrounds. The child is referred to only as It or the Creator of the Universe, and Vonnegut’s narrative dwells on the child’s disorientation having traded an existence in which “It had known all things and been all things” for the limitations of human flesh. Readers soon learn that the celestial objects the infant sees are actually people and things nearby, transformed by bleary, teary eyes and the novelty of sight itself. A crescent moon, for example, is actually “the forehead of Joseph,/ who would pretend to be the Creator’s father/ with all his heart.” Mary, the shepherds, the Wise Men, and Herod are all present or discussed, but it’s Vonnegut’s descriptions of the sheer newness of human experience (the child’s “fourth dream was simply green. It had never seen/ green/ before”) that make this an intriguing and memorable perspective on the Incarnation. Ages 5–9. (Nov.)