Where Did the Sun Go?

Myths and Legends of Solar Eclipses Around the World Told with Poetry and Puppetry

Poetry - General
72 Pages
Reviewed on 03/23/2013
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Alice DiNizo for Readers' Favorite

"Where Did the Sun Go?" by Janet Cameron Hoult is a marvelous and unique introduction for children and adults of all ages to world-wide beliefs about solar eclipses. The colorful, full-page illustrations by Julia Andrzejewska are a perfect accompaniment to the author's explanation of cultural beliefs. Janet Hoult writes of each belief in twelve lines with rhymes that work perfectly and aren't a stretch. At the beginning of this charming book, the author defines what really happens when there is a solar eclipse and then goes on to tell of how, for instance, in ancient Mesopotamia, a solar eclipse had few descriptions as the Sun had been bad and was covering his face in shame. She tells that in Japan it was thought that a dragon eats the Sun. The puppet show near the book's end where the author shows children how to perform with puppets based upon this book, is easy to assemble and produce.

"Where Did the Sun Go?" is a truly great addition to children's non-fiction collections. It is beautiful to look at, well-organized, and even includes a number of good references. The print is large enough for readers of all ages to enjoy and each country's conception of a solar eclipse is well-presented. The full page illustrations that accompany each belief are simple, colorful and easily interpreted by even the youngest reader. This book was originally a traveling educational program for children world-wide. The author also developed a series of workshops for children where they could learn about eclipses through poetry and puppetry. That she has explored this subject in "Where Did the Sun Go" is to her everlasting credit. It is a "must" book for children's book collections worldwide.

Deepak Menon

Enchanting!! I can end the review of this little book right now with this word. But I have to write something about the author, Janet Cameron Hoult. A Professor Emerita in the Charter College of Education, at California State University, LA, Dr Hoult, now in her 70’s, describes herself as a Solar Eclipse Chaser! She has traveled and taught at places all around the world and chased eclipses from countries in Europe, the Middle East, and all the way Japan and China. Her travels led her to amazing and enchanting legends and myths about eclipses in different cultures. In this enchanting book, she has written about the legends and myths related to eclipses in over 20 distinct cultures around the world. The little stories are written in structured unmetered verse, in a very simple style, perfect for laying the seeds of future inquiry in the little minds of ‘Tiny Tots’, and deeper research in older children. The simple colorful illustrations by Julia Andrzejewska add value to the book. Each legend or myth has been condensed into one page, with a vivid full page illustration facing it.

Despite herself being a professor, Janet Hoult has refrained from being wordy or verbose, which is one of the most important things to keep in mind while writing books for little children. The latter part of the book is a wonderful innovation, where she has turned each myth into a little play for children to enact on stage. Dr. Hoult’s concern for children and opening their minds towards a culturally integrated world, is noteworthy indeed and makes this book an essential part of every children’s library across the world.