The Story of the Blue Planet
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The Story of the Blue Planet

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by Andri Snaer Magnason, Aslaug Jonsdottir
     
 

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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

Overview

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.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review
…Andri Snaer Magnason…writes with a Seussian mix of wonder, wit and gravitas…While the metaphors are not subtle…Magnason generally manages to temper his morality tale with enough wit and levity that it doesn't feel heavy-handed…the book…is immensely satisfying—a major contribution to the sparsely populated eco-lit genre, and one that could entice other authors to contribute. Magnason's story touchingly reminds us of the Dahlian principle that adults are "complicated creatures, full of quirks and secrets"; and that children "are the music makers…the dreamers of dreams." And further—that these dreamers may also be our best hope of…repairing a real-life planet damaged by grown-ups.
—Amanda Little
Publishers Weekly
While fairly unknown in the U.S., Magnason is an acclaimed author in his native Iceland. His sly, smart parable, first published in 1999, takes aim at the central dilemma of the developed world: is it ethical to be happy at the cost of others’ suffering? The tranquil Blue Planet, inhabited only by children, is jolted when fast-talking grownup Gleesome Goodday parachutes in and teaches its children to fly. (To supply the service on a permanent basis he charges them, insidiously, just the tiniest fraction of their youth.) Blown off course, friends Brimir and Hulda find out quite by chance that because they can fly, another group of children has no sunlight, safety, or food. Mr. Goodday is unruffled by their discovery: “There’s as much happiness in the world now as there was previously, it’s just been readjusted,” he says. Dahl-like wit and a couple of eccentrically Arctic moments (seals are for eating, and Brimir and Hulda suckle the milk of a she-wolf) make this a memorable and provocative tale, and a splendid opener for discussions about our own blue planet. Ages 8–12. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
“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.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Magnason’s beautifully illustrated and expertly translated book is charming, eccentric, moving, and humbling – often reminiscent of Roald Dahl or William Steig.  It’s a magical coming-of-age story that may also remind adults to appreciate the here and the now, and that the grass on the other side may appear greener, but that doesn’t mean it’s better.”—Typographical Era

“It's a delightful and pointed tale. Indeed, The Story of the Blue Planet, aided by Aslaug Jonsdottir's fanciful and evocative illustrations, raises important issues about greed, collaboration, friendship and trust that will kick-start discussions among children and their caretakers. Home and school libraries would do well to add it to their collections.”—Truthout

“The sound ecological message that is conveyed in The Story of the Blue Planet has justifiably met with widespread international acclaim, with the book having won numerous highly sought-after prizes, and being the first chidren’s book to be awarded the Icelandic Literary Prize."—Book Pleasures

"Adventurous and entertaining...the illustrations are lovely and offer a visual stimulus for the story.”—Books for Kids  

“Those who enjoyed Adam Gidwitz's A Tale Dark and Grimm (Dutton, 2010) may find Magnason's cautionary ecological tale a perfect complement. Well-paced, with some wonderful, story-enhancing color illustrations.”—School Library Journal 

School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Those who enjoyed Adam Gidwitz's A Tale Dark and Grimm (Dutton, 2010) may find Magnason's cautionary ecological tale a perfect complement. Like Gidwitz, Magnason does not shy away from graphic descriptions of danger and death. That being said, as in all good fables, he begins with once upon a time and readers learn of an innocuous-looking blue planet floating in space. It is inhabited solely by children, who live an idyllic, although somewhat savage life (they hunt for food, even clubbing seals). They are happy and this is most fully realized once a year when the butterflies of the Blue Mountains follow the sun across the sky, a beautiful and breathtaking sight. But as in all good tales and life itself, things are never static. Enter the villain, Mr. Goodday, who lands on the planet and is discovered by the protagonists, Brimir and Hulda. Mr. Goodday, over the course of a very short time, corrupts the children by giving them the power to fly and by introducing them to, among other things, the concept of selfishness. In the process the planet is corrupted as well, affecting the entire ecosystem. After a number of harrowing events, Mr. Goodday is outsmarted by Hulda, who offers to fulfill his greatest wish in return for restoring the children and planet to their former states. Well-paced, with some wonderful, story-enhancing color illustrations.—Mary Beth Rassulo, Ridgefield Library, CT
Kirkus Reviews
A traveling salesman tricks an island of innocent, ageless children into selling their most valuable possession for fun and games in this undoubtedly metaphorical tale. When Gleesome Goodday--looking in the illustrations like an evil clown clad in a Hawaiian shirt--emerges from his rocket ship promising to make everyone's sweetest dreams come true, Brimir, Hulda and the rest of the children happily exchange percentages of their "youth" for such benefits as the ability to fly and dirt-proof coatings of Teflon. In no time (literally, as Goodday also nails the sun into the sky), the children have abandoned their previously idyllic lives to learn about commerce, ownership, democratic politics and making bombs. It's all a laugh riot until Brimir and Hulda discover that all the children and animals on the other side of their world are pining away in perpetual darkness and notice that they themselves and all their playmates have gone gray. No worries, though: by abruptly turning Goodday into a fool who is easily tricked into freeing the Sun and emptying his tanks of hoarded Youth, the Icelandic author engineers a facile happy ending. A few scary incidents and the references to poop and nasty food that are evidently required in all European light fiction add bits of savor to an otherwise bland import with a cautionary message that is, at best, vague. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781609804282
Publisher:
Seven Stories Press
Publication date:
11/27/2012
Pages:
96
Product dimensions:
5.96(w) x 8.16(h) x 0.56(d)
Lexile:
750L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“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.”
The New York Times Book Review

“Magnason’s beautifully illustrated and expertly translated book is charming, eccentric, moving, and humbling – often reminiscent of Roald Dahl or William Steig.  It’s a magical coming-of-age story that may also remind adults to appreciate the here and the now, and that the grass on the other side may appear greener, but that doesn’t mean it’s better.”
Typographical Era

Meet 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. In 2002 LoveStar was named "Novel of the Year" by Icelandic booksellers and received the DV Literary Award and a nomination for the Icelandic Literary Prize. LoveStar was also shortlisted for the 2013 Philip K. Dick Award. His children's book, 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. Andri is the winner of the 2010 Kairos Award.

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.

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.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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The Story of the Blue Planet 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
book4children More than 1 year ago
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.