US Review of Books by Michael Radon

“When, in the Beginning, the Sun was made, God made her happy and the possessor of all knowledge about the Universe….”

In the beginning, God created the sun, and as a result, all things that followed are part of the sun, requiring its heat and light in order to survive.  The sun shows the beauty of the entire world, and mankind was able from early on to properly observe and appreciate all of the gifts of the world that exist under the sun, from majestic mountains to tranquil streams.  Mankind was also able to reason that since the sun was not always out to provide its services, it must have to rest, and so women and men also rest along with the sun’s schedule.  However, as people further considered the sun, their knowledge grew to a point that started to separate humanity from the simple balance of nature, driving people to acts that do not serve the common good of the world.

Using the sun as inspiration, people learn how to create machines and how to visit other places of the world, finding a spot that uniquely suits them that they can call their own.  As people become more prolific and populations rise, they forget about where they come from and find a nagging unease because thought they have much to occupy their time, they lack land to call their own and nature to share it with.  Yet some enlightened minds are beginning to reflect on the journey of humans from humble beginnings to where they are now and are learning to become reacquainted with nature and with the sun to find wholeness and happiness in an increasingly complicated world.

With its soft colored pencil illustrations and simple vocabulary, this book is unquestionably designed for children yet focuses on an existential woe that many adults are facing in our modern world.  Teaching balance and harmony with not only other people but nature itself, the core message is one of reconnecting with nature rather than chasing the next big technological advancement or relying on conveniences to make us happy.  Many children might not be able to fully appreciate that underlying message but will absolutely understand a simplified history of the world and a comprehension that being outside and playing or just appreciating the local flora and fauna will inspire them and keep them occupied and joyful.

The end message is one that is also unique because it’s entirely possible for children to discover it along with adults.  What might start as a book to share together before bedtime could be advice powerful enough to lead to family getaways and nature retreats rather than going out to the movies or to a restaurant.  By getting both parties excited about a potential change of activity and a way of looking at the world, parent and child alike can begin to plan for a refreshing change of pace and a healthier lifestyle.  This story’s perspective is an interesting one, telling the story of the sun in order to provide a frame of reference essentially for human history, with all of its benefits and its drawbacks.  This way, people are not necessarily good or bad, they are simply either mindful of their connection to the sun or have forgotten it but can relearn it.  The clever use of the sun as the true focal point allows children to take in the information of this story without forming a judgment or a negative connotation toward others.  A simple story like this one is a great way to impart to young readers a lack of reliance on screen time for entertainment and a mindful attitude toward taking care of the world they all share.