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
“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
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:
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.
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.