Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Review - The Sun Is a Peach

The Sun Is a Peach
by Sara Cassidy
illustrated by Josée Bisaillon
Date: 2020
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 24
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

A young child walks along a country road into town where there's a parade on. The experiences of the day, and the child's eventual homecoming and bedtime, are chronicled and compared to the sun. The sun takes the form of the yolk of an egg, a spool of thread, the eye of a bird, an ice-cream cone and a dandelion. Each round, yellow item on the page hints at the big golden ball in the sky.

Stunning illustrations by Josée Bisaillon capture how imagination shapes the environment around us. This simple board book shows children that the way they see the world--by heart, mind and imagination--is just right. Revelling in metaphor, The Sun is a Peach encourages that magical leap of imagination and asks the reader to look at everyday objects from a different perspective.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I requested this board book from NetGalley because I enjoy the work of illustrator Josée Bisaillon. The Sun Is a Peach has a good premise. Unfortunately, the execution is quite lacking.

The book basically offers illustrated metaphors that compare various objects to the sun. The sun is a peach, an egg yolk, a blackbird's eye, a coin... Given that this is a board book, however, I expected that all of these objects would be easily comparable to the sun. This is supposed to be an introduction to metaphors, after all. But the sun is compared to a spool of yellow thread, a bee sting, a cheese pizza, time (what?), and an open book (what?!). I'm sure I could come up with ways that these things could all be compared to the sun, but I'm not three years old and I already know my way around a metaphor. Are little kids going to grasp these metaphors when the comparisons are so ambiguous?

From an aesthetic perspective, the illustrations are lovely. The colour palette is appealing and the pictures highlight the words. But in a book like this, the illustrations need to be a lot more clear so that they convey the concept. If the spool of yellow thread had been drawn looking at it from one end (so that it was a circle), it would have been easier to compare it with the sun. If the cheese pizza had had more than a few pieces of mozzarella on a bed of tomato sauce, the link with the sun might have been more clear.

While I appreciate what this book was trying to do, and I really have no problem with the overall concept, I thought that the execution was lacking. A book about metaphors for older children might be able to get away with comparing that big yellow ball in the sky with abstract concepts like time or an open book, but when it expects toddlers to "get it", it's kind of missed the mark.

Thank you to NetGalley and Orca Book Publishers for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 3/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 2/5
Illustrations: 2/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.33 out of 5

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