The Story of the Blue Planet

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BluePlanet

The Story of The Blue Planet by Andri Snaer Magnason is a different type of chapter book. It is the story of a village of children who have been children for more years than they can count, and who eat, sleep and play when they want, make all their own decisions, and answer only to themselves.

These children admire the beauty of nature, like quiet sunsets and the annual awakening of the butterflies, and they kill only when necessary, like when they must kill baby seals for food.

Life is natural and good until the day a stranger—aptly named Jolly-Goodday—lands on their planet and points out all the wonderful things that are missing from their mundane lives. He shows them how to use powder from butterfly wings to fly through the air, and when they discover the powder only works in direct sunlight, he demonstrates how to drive a nail into the sun to hold it in place so it never sets.

In return for his “generosity,” the children pay him with the only currency they have: They offer a tiny portion of their youth.

Now the children do nothing except fly in eternal sunshine until the day two of them get lost on the other side of the planet. There they encounter a cold and dark world with dwindling resources, and a band of starving children who cannot figure out where the sun has gone.

Suddenly the two children from the sunny side of the planet realize that they must share their resources or the children from the dark side will perish. The problem is, they cannot quite convince the other children from the sunny side that the dark children deserve to partake of the earth’s goodness too.

The Story of the Blue Planet is a thought-provoking story of an emerging society reminiscent of the one in The Lord of the Flies. The only difference is in The Lord of the Flies the island was peaceful until the adults disappeared, and in this book, the land is peaceful until an adult shows up.

Like the children in The Lord of the Flies, these sunny children are not evil. It is only when Jolly-Goodday—who believes in a good time no matter the cost — shows up that their thinking changes. He argues that since they are the first to come up with ideas like nailing the sun to the sky, they are entitled to charge other children who wish to share the resources. He also convinces them that they can ease any guilt they might experience by offering the deprived children their old clothing, half-eaten food, and other cast off items.

The illustrations by Aslang Jonsdottir have an exotic feel, the perfect ingredient for this hauntingly familiar storyline about how the best things in life are free—and are for everyone.

Best wishes and happy reading,
Rita Lorraine

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Hello Everyone! I am a former special education teacher, and am currently a full-time children's writer, book blogger and freelance editor. I earned the 2014 SCBWI Letter of Merit for an unpublished multicultural novel; I am Lee and Low Publishers 2012 New Voices Award Winner. I am the author of Getting a Job in the Food Industry, Getting the Most Out of MOOCs, and The Right Health Care Degree for Me, all published by Rosen Publishing, and Playwriting, published by Cavendish Square in January, 2017. My first picture book, Hammering for Freedom: The William Lewis Story (Lee and Low) debuted on September 24, 2018. It is a School Library Journal selection and received positive Kirkus and Horn Book reviews. My second picture book, The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read (Random House) will debut in January 2020. I penned African Americans of Chattanooga: A History of Unsung Heroes, and I review books for The New York Journal of Books. Thanks for visiting!

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