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How the Sun Was Brought Back to the Sky

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After the sun fails to shine for the third day, a group of chicks go in search of it with the help of their animal friends.

32 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 1975

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About the author

Mirra Ginsburg

71 books17 followers
Mirra Ginsburg was a Jewish Russian-American translator of Russian literature, a collector of folk tales and a children's writer. Born in Bobruisk (then part of the Russian Empire, now part of modern-day Belarus) in 1909, she moved with her family to Latvia, then to Canada, before they settled in the United States. Although she won praise for her translations of adult literature, including the Master and Margarita (1967) by Mikhail Bulgakov and We (1972) by Yevgeny Ivanovich Zamyatin, she is perhaps most celebrated for her contributions to children's literature. She collected and translated a vast array of folktales from the Russian tradition, as well as Siberian and Central Asian traditions. Ginsburg died in 2000.

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5 stars
51 (45%)
4 stars
27 (24%)
3 stars
26 (23%)
2 stars
7 (6%)
1 star
1 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 19 of 19 reviews
Profile Image for Abigail.
7,113 reviews185 followers
September 9, 2019
A brood of fluffy young chicks sets out to find the sun and bring it back to the sky in this folktale from Slovenia, published in 1975, and translated by the prolific Mirra Ginsburg, who has made so many Eastern European works available to American readers. Outfitted by the mother hen with a grain of rye and a poppy-seed each (sounds like slim rations for a long quest to me...), they wander about, asking each animal they meet whether they know where the sun lives, and picking up quite an entourage in the meantime. It falls to the local hedgehog to guide them all up to the local mountain peak, where they hop on a cloud that takes them to the moon, who in turn guides them to the sun's dwelling. Here the animal companions must convince the sun to emerge once more, all pitching in to get him ready.

Although I wouldn't describe How the Sun Was Brought Back to the Sky as a particularly scintillating read, I did find it a sweet, gentle little story, perfect for younger children who enjoy a good quest story, sans blood, guts and mayhem. The scene in which the animals clean up the sun was particularly charming! As someone with an interest in folklore, moreover, I appreciated the fact that this tale was from Slovenia, as I have not had a chance to read much from the folk tradition of that country. The colorful artwork is a little cartoon-like, but is cheerful and appealing all the same. I liked the scene in which the chicks are confronted by the magpie - it was quite charming! All in all, a solid folkloric retelling, although I do wish that Ginsburg had listed her sources, or given some information about the story.
Profile Image for D.R. Martinez.
31 reviews1 follower
May 27, 2012
I spent the whole night trying to find this book last night! It's a real task if you can't remember the title of a rare book. I loved this story when I was a child and I can't wait to share it with my child.
Profile Image for David Gilmore.
7 reviews
January 11, 2019
This is the one book I still remember from my childhood (born in 1976)! I could never remember the title, though, and just came across it here. My childhood was full of books and I was a voracious reader so it pleases me to no end to have rediscovered one my favorite reads of all time!
129 reviews
May 18, 2011
I have always loved this book -- one of the top five I keep as an adult, because I loved it so much as a child.
121 reviews
June 12, 2018
Five stars because my 4 year old grandson loves it, and asks to hear it again every time I see him! There's hope for these kids.
It's a sweet story, with details that make it even more fun to read with a child.
Profile Image for Emily.
184 reviews1 follower
September 18, 2018
Like other (retold) folktales, there is a situation, a dilemma, or a problem. The sun has not shone in three days, just sad, gray clouds. And like in other tales, there is a journey, and a destination, and help along the way. It's a tale that emphasizes the interdependence of all living creatures, and the sun and the moon and the earth. The young chicks in this tale set out on a journey, and at the end of the journey, something is gained, something is learned, and at the end of the tale there is hope. I like that the mama hen encourages her brood to set out on the journey to find the sun, giving them each a grain of rye and a poppy seed. I like that we learn about each creature's favorite habitat and habits. Each of their skills comes into play when they 'clean off the sun's face,' restoring brilliance and shine to the sun and to the earth. And all is well with the world at the end. Good tale to read out loud, although the book is rather a small format, and it might be difficult to find. Published in 1975.
Profile Image for Brian.
28 reviews
January 21, 2018
Reminiscent of the-sky-is-falling stories this one sees a group of adventuring animals on a quest to return the sun to the sky because it had been absent for 3 days.

When they arrive at the sun's house, which looks a lot like American Southwest architecture, the sun is awoken and replies with, "Oh, oh! ... I don't even know how to shine any more." Next comes a display that would make Neil de Grasse Tyson cringe. The animals pour water on, scrub, dry with a towel, and pick the dust off of the sun's face.

In the end the sun returns and all is well again...

But something that the animals and sun seem to miss is the importance of clouds and what they are and how they fit into the ecosystem. An environment without cloud cover is not ideal - nor is an environment with constant sun. What is needed, what the animals and sun fail to realize, is that moderation is key to environmental and overall success.
January 21, 2021
I remember loving this book as a little girl, and I don't know what happened to it. Over the years I forgot about it and even the title. I'm now 46, and the mother of 2 sons who are 13 and 8. Me and my mom were talking last week about books, I told her about this book and remembered her reading it to me and my little brother. I remembered the cover being brown around the edges from the wooden doors and the big yellow sun with his little friends. So I literally GOOGLED: classic children's book from the 80's about the sun, and there it was!! I'm purchasing it now to read to my own 13yo and 8yo sons. They're going to LOVE it!!
September 9, 2020
I grew up with this book and now I have shared it with both my kiddos!! We still love it!! A good old kids book, written when I was born, 1975!!❤
January 29, 2021
This is the book I remember from my childhood and i fervently believed that is how the sun was placed in the sky again.
Profile Image for Rosa Cline.
3,322 reviews39 followers
April 5, 2016
I received this book when I was a very little girl. I remember my mother reading it to me and it being a favorite of mine, then later learnt to read it myself. I then read it to my children and now am reading it to my 2 year old granddaughter! Illustrations are wonderful almost a waterpaint but not really... will captivate listeners and readers both.

The sun hadn't shown in 3 days so little chicks first missed him, then they set out and asked others along the way where the sun lived. They encountered a magpie, rabbit, duck and a hedgehog (so introducing young children to animals they may not have seen or know about) They do make it to the sun's house to find that he was sad 'cause the clouds have pushed him out of the sky. So the animals help clean him up and help him shine bright again. A cleaver 'new' book that is different than others; not the same storylines as others. And teaches importance of friends and staying on task (chicks wanting to find the sun's house regardless of not knowing where he lived) Really great book!
Profile Image for Katie Williams.
100 reviews
November 27, 2011
I found this book when looking up books for a sources of light lesson. It's a story about baby bunnies who venture off to find the sun. They eventually end up finding it sleeping in the clouds, wake it up, and the sun shines brightly and disperses the rain clouds. I didn't use this book, but it was a nice story and a good topic book for sources of light. A lot of the story is fictional, so it would be a good connection for kids to tell the difference between how light works in real life compared to the story.
Profile Image for Maria.
407 reviews12 followers
May 23, 2008
The best part of this book is when the animals wash the sun so that it can come back out and shine. Especially when the hedgehog polishes it with his bristles. Otherwise both the pictures and text are forgettable.
Profile Image for Gina.
11 reviews
December 8, 2012
This was such a sweet children's book I heard at work last year, I had to get it for myself!
Displaying 1 - 19 of 19 reviews

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