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Book Review and Giveaway: The Story of the Blue Planet, by Andri Snaer Magnason and Aslaug Jonsdottir (Illustrations)

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The Story of the Blue Planet, by Andri Snaer Magnason, Aslaug Jonsdottir (Illustrations), and Julian Meldon D’Arcy (Translation)
Brimir and Hulda are best friends who live on a small island on a beautiful blue planet where there are only children and no adults. Their planet is wild and at times dangerous, but everything is free, everyone is their friend, and each day is more exciting than the last.

One day a rocket ship piloted by a strange-looking adult named Gleesome Goodday crashes on the beach. His business card claims he is a “Dream.ComeTrueMaker and joybringer,” and he promises to make life a hundred times more fun with sun-activated flying powder and magic-coated skin so that no one ever has to bathe again. Goodday even nails the sun in the sky and creates a giant wolf to chase away the clouds so it can be playtime all the time. In exchange for these wonderful things, Goodday asks only for a little bit of the children’s youth—but what is youth compared to a lot more fun? The children are so enamored with their new games that they forget all the simple activities they used to love.

During Goodday’s great flying competition, Hulda and Brimir fly too high to the sun and soar to the other side of planet, where they discover it is dark all the time and the children are sickly and pale. Hulda and Brimir know that without their help, the pale children will die, but first they need to get back to their island and convince their friends that Gleesome Goodday is not all that he seems.

A fantastical adventure, beautifully told, unfolds in a deceptively simple tale. The Story of the Blue Planet will delight and challenge readers of all ages.

Reading level: Ages 7 and up
Hardcover: 96 pages
Publisher: Seven Stories Press (November 27, 2012)

**The Story of the Blue Planet has been named a 2012 Green Earth Book Award honor book!

Praise for The Story of the Blue Planet:
“Magnason’s writing is lean, swift and often lyrical. . . immensely satisfying — a major contribution to the sparsely populated eco-lit genre, and one that could entice other authors to contribute.”
New York Time Book Review

Dahl-like wit and a couple of eccentrically Arctic moments make this a memorable and provocative tale, and a splendid opener for discussions about our own blue planet.”Publishers Weekly, starred review

“With The Story of the Blue Planet, Andri Snær Magnason gives our own aching planet a deep green fable in which ordinary children can wreck a world … or save it.”—Marcus Ewert, author of the award-winning 10,000 Dresses

My Thoughts: 
I think that each of us has a miniature version of Jolly Goodday (Gleesome Goodday in the synopsis) sitting on our shoulder, whispering to us.  The choice we all have to make is whether or not we are going to listen to him.

The Story of the Blue Planet is fascinating on so many levels.  It is more than just an adventure or a tale about the environment.  It is a story that makes you think about yourself, about others, and about the world.

Is it right for you to deprive others of life’s necessities in order for you to have more fun?  This book helps children understand that actions have consequences.  Sometimes, those consquences have dire effects on ourselves and on others.  While this lesson applies to the environment, it can also be applied to every facet of life

Jolly Goodday represents the selfish and unconcerned side of all of us.  He tells us half-truths and uses trickery to convince us that other people don’t matter as much as ourselves.  He says that we should think of our own pleasure first, no matter what it does to someone else.  He is the little voice that demands to be satisfied, no matter the cost.

In addition to the many morals contained between it’s pages, this story is adventurous and entertaining.  I love books that can teach a lesson through storytelling.  The illustrations are lovely and offer a visual stimulus for the story.  This is one of those books that I think every child should read.  It is targeted at kids, and it is the kind of literature that will give them pause and make them consider their actions.  “Think before you act” is a big theme in this book. 
 

About the Author:

Andri Snær Magnason is one of Iceland’s most celebrated young writers. He has written poetry, plays, fiction, and non-fiction, and in 2009 he co-directed the documentary Dreamland, which was based on his book Dreamland: A Self-Help Manual for a Frightened Nation. The Story of the Blue Planet—now published or performed in twenty-six countries—was the first children’s book to receive the Icelandic Literary Prize, and was also the recipient of the Janusz Korczak Honorary Award and the West Nordic Children’s Book Prize. In 2002 his novel LoveStar was named “Novel of the Year” by Icelandic booksellers and received the DV Literary Award and a nomination for the Icelandic Literary Prize. Andri is the winner of the 2010 Kairos Award.

About the Artist:

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 Áslaug Jónsdóttir is an illustrator, author of children’s books, artist, and graphic designer. She has written and illustrated several books for children, amongst them The Egg (Eggið, 2003), I Want Fish! (Ég vil fisk! 2007), and the award-winning Good Evening (Gott kvöld, 2005), which received The Bookseller’s Prize as the best children’s book of 2005, The Icelandic Illustration Award, The Reykjavik Educational Council Children’s Book Prize, and was nominated for The Nordic Children’s Book Award.

About the Translator:
Julian Meldon D’Arcy is Professor of English Literature at the University of Iceland. He has written books on Scottish literature and sports, and has translated novels, poetry, and films from Icelandic, including the children’s books Flowers on the Roof and The Fisherman’s Boy and the Seal

Giveaway!
Seven Stories Press is giving away one printed copy to a lucky winner!  Use the Rafflecopter below to enter for a chance to win this awesome middle grade book. US addresses only.

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9 Comments

  • Reply
    werejumpin
    February 14, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    This sounds like a great read! I know my daughter would love it, and to go on adventure with only kids would be her dream 🙂

    • Reply
      reviewkidsbooks@gmail.com
      February 14, 2013 at 10:43 pm

      It is really good. I loved the message, and the adventure was great too. All around a good book.

  • Reply
    Jambo
    February 20, 2013 at 8:00 am

    Oh what a fabulous sounding book, I wish I could enter, boo hoo, lol never mind, I will put it on the to read list. Thank you for linking it into the kidlit blog hop. Cheers Julie Anne Grasso

  • Reply
    Katie @ Youth Literature Reviews
    February 20, 2013 at 9:57 am

    This sounds absolutely fascinating! I've never heard of anything like it.
    Thank you for sharing this with the Kid Lit Blog Hop!

  • Reply
    Keith Schoch
    February 20, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Found you via the Hop this week! I've seen the Story of the Blue Planet for awhile now, and it looked pretty cool, so I entered to win. I'm also your newest follower, and so pleased to have found you! Please swing by and see me at well at http://howtoteachanovel.blogspot.com.

  • Reply
    Resh
    February 21, 2013 at 4:43 am

    Found this through KidLit Hop today. Looks like a wonderful story and am glad that there is an award for "green books" like this one. Thanks for sharing. This one just went on our Goodreads shelf! Also entered to win. Do check out picture book reviews @ http://www.stackingbooks.com 🙂

  • Reply
    Cool Mom
    February 21, 2013 at 9:24 am

    Found this via the KidLit blog Hop. This sounds like a great story. Thank you for posting the review.

  • Reply
    Sibel Hodge
    February 24, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Stopping by as part of the Kid Lit Blog Hop. What a great honour to receive an award for a "green book". Sounds like a fab book 🙂

  • Reply
    T. Drecker
    February 26, 2013 at 7:37 am

    Also stopping by from Kid Lit Hop. And I'm glad I did. This sounds like one of those 'must be read' books. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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