Cranky Sun

Cranky Sun

by Jerry Kramsky, Lorenzo Mattotti

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The oversized format of this book provides Mattotti (Eugenio) with a flattering venue for his over-the-top artwork, here depicting a village where buildings swoop and swirl and where the people look as loopy as they act. All is color and movement in his fantastic vision. Unfortunately the narrative swerves with even greater abandon, making for a confusing and badly paced tale. In this village a marvelous clock tells the sun when to rise and when to set. One day, the sun determines to take orders no more: she will not go down and the day will not end. Desperate schemes are hatched to compel the sulking sun to go to bed, but all meet with failure until a little boy tries an empathic approach. Kramsky's story spirals forward with little regard for linear plotting (the "special clock" fades from the narrative, and a clock's mechanic and a vagabond who knows the langague of birds disappear from the text shortly after they're introduced). The story's moral, that demands do not always bring the best results, is hardly worth the build-up. Not even Mattotti's playful pictures redeem this slender tale. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2The village of Underwind, where fantastic things happen, is famous for its garden of sweets (children may be disappointed that it's mentioned only in the opening sentence) and for its special clock that, according to the villagers, controls the sun. The story focuses on what happens when the sun refuses to set. To remedy the situation, various persuasions and commands are tried. The famous singer sings, the wise scientists talk in complicated terms, and the cook offers a plate of spaghetti, but the sun is sick of being told what to do and listens to no one until a little boy declares he is tired and suggests that perhaps the sun is also. The absurd tone of the text is more than matched by Mattotti's unique cartoon illustrations. Done with a grainy texture that looks like oil pastels, they are full of strong colors, curves, and distortions. The colors and unusual contrasts give the impression of too much stark light. The sun, with its large nose and creased brow, does indeed look cranky as it looms over the clock tower. Children who have outgrown Margaret Wise Brown's Goodnight Moon (HarperCollins, 1947) will enjoy this quirky bedtime story.Karen James, Louisville Free Public Library, KY
Kirkus Reviews
An agreeable concept is run into the ground with excess verbiage. One day in the town of Underwind, the sun decides it no longer wants to take orders from the town clock and refuses to set. The town sends up composers, scientists, poets, astronauts, and cooks to get the orb moving again, but all it takes is a boy's compassionate question to bring the story to a close. The odd relationship between the clock and the sun is certainly worth exploring, but Kramsky takes too many tacks, tangles them, and then settles for an arbitrary resolution. The art is astonishing: Curves of color soar over enormous pages, while faces right out of Fellini suit the surreal setting. Readers may pore over the pages, but they won't come away with the point of this tale—there doesn't seem to be one.

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Product Details

Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st U.S. ed
Product dimensions:
9.37(w) x 13.37(h) x 0.38(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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