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Why the Sun and the Moon Live in the Sky
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Why the Sun and the Moon Live in the Sky

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3.85  ·  Rating details ·  584 Ratings  ·  75 Reviews
Sun and his wife, the moon, lived on Earth and built a large house so that the water people could visit. But so many poured in that they were forced to move to the sky.
Paperback, 32 pages
Published April 30th 1990 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1968)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Luann
Very simply told, with great illustrations. I particularly liked all of the fish and water animals. The note at the end says, "The story of how the sun and the moon came to live in the sky is told here as it might have been with African tribesmen dressed to represent the elements and the creatures of the sea." Since the illustrations depict people dressed as the sun, the moon, the water, fish, and various water animals, it makes me think it would be a fun story for students to dress up and act o ...more
Kristine Hansen
Oct 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
The masks give a feeling of dance and movement to the classic story of how Sun and Moon were forced up into the sky. I can almost see the story being acted out, and watched with delight as the inevitable conclusion came to be. I wish the colors would have been a bit more vivid as the actual masks would be, but overall it's a good book and one I enjoyed reading.
Philip
Apr 13, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Philip by: Luann
Shelves: children
At any given moment I probably have 3 or 4 children's books on my "to-read" shelf. Given that the shelf currently has 541 books on it, I'd say the children's books are a little under-represented.

I also generally don't review them unless they've been reviewed by another goodreads friend of mine and they're the reason I got the book - as in Luann's review of this one, or I've been forced to read it a dozen times to one or both of my kids...

This was a decent book. I guess I don't have to review it
...more
Hannah Rogers
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing

This folktale explains how the sun and moon came to live in the sky. One day the sun asked ocean why he never came over to visit him in his house. The ocean told the sun that his house was not big enough for him and all his people. So the sun and his wife, the moon built a bigger house. The ocean and his people then came over. There were so many ocean people that the sun and the moon had to sit in the sky to give the ocean people room. They never came back and that is why the sun and the moon l

...more
Ashley B.
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book surprised me because it outlines a new and creative way to answer the question, why does the sun and moon live in the sky? There are many suggestions and everyone has an opinion as to why, but this book shares a harmless idea of how the sun just wanted to invite his friend water over to his house. There was so much water, the sun and moon had to keep going up and up that they ended up in the sky and that's where they stayed. This was a neat idea to answer that question. That question c ...more
Kate Sanders
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book has great illustrations. As an adult I was expecting a physical sun and an ocean or something. This book is creative in it's use of characters and plot of how the sun and moon got to be where they are.
Haley Barbour
Title: Why the Sun and the Moon Live in the Sky: An African Folktale
Author: Elphinstone Dayrell
Illustrator: Blair Lent
Genre: Folklore/Ledgends
Theme(s):
Opening line/sentence: Many years ago the sun and water were great friends, and both lived on the earth together.
Brief Book Summary: This folktale tells the story of how the sun and the moon got to the sky. The Sun was unable to build a big enough house. Him and his wife, the moon were forced to move into the sky when the water came to visit.
P
...more
Ashley
Jul 05, 2016 added it
Title: Why the Sun and the Moon Live in the Sky
Author: Elphinstone Dayrell
Illustrator: Blair Lent
Genre: Folklore – Non-European
Theme(s): friendship, sharing, the sun and water
Opening line/sentence:
Many years ago the sun and water were great friends, and both lived on the earth together.
Brief Book Summary:
The sun and water are really good friends so the sun wants water to visit him and his wife at his house. Water comes to visit but the house is not big enough so the sun and the moon are forced
...more
Rosemary Sullivan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathryn Lovell
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: caldecotts
This book is simple, but engaging. The illustrations draw the reader into the story, (it reminds me of the art of Tomie dePaola) and young readers are able to follow the story. Great for a unit on fables, folklore and mythology.
Lucy Hall
Title: Why The Sun and Moon Live in the Sky
Author: Elphinstone Dayrell
Illustrator: (Lent, Blair)
Genre: Myth
Theme(s): Friendship, relationships
Opening line/sentence: (Many years ago the sun and water were great friends, and both lived on the earth together.)
Brief Book Summary: (A story explaining why the sun and the moon are up in the sky and why they sun comes out during the day and the moon comes out at night)
Professional Recommendation/Review #1: (From the Publisher
"An African folktale is inte
...more
Mitchell
Caldecott Honor picture book. A retelling of an African folktale. Not especially interesting art or text. And not all that much to the story either. The idea was fine, the execution not so much.
Sierra
Sep 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book was quite different but the short length to it and fun illustrations allow children to have an imagination. I wouldn’t say I was super impressed by the book however it is a Caldecott Winner and I can see why with the depth and idea of African tribesmen. This is an African folktale about how the sun and moon came to live up in the sky. Dayrell captured the friendship and generosity of the Sun, the Moon, and the Water perfectly. This friendship and connection between these three items is ...more
Emily Wiegman
This book is an African folktale that fits under the "Pourquoi" category because it is an explanation of how the sun and moon ended up in the sky. It begins with the sun and the water being good friends, but water would never come to visit the sun because he said his people take up too much space and he was worried about the sun's house being too small. The sun went home to his wife, the moon and they built a bigger house to accommodate the water. However, when water finally comes to visit his p ...more
Chelsea
This folk tale is actually one told from people in Nigerian tribes. I love all the folk tales I can get my hands on because they are fun and imaginative. They give life to sometimes boring lecture material, and add a touch of culture to a classroom—this book does just that. The Sun and the Moon are married and the Sun is good friends with the Water. The Sun always would go visit the Water but the Water would never come visit the Sun and the Moon because he said that there wasn’t enough room. He ...more
Rachel
This book definitely gets a mention for having one of the strangest author names I've ever seen. Aside from that, it was a really good version of a Nigerian folktale recreated by the author in 1910. The illustrations, which my son couldn't stop flipping through, are brightly colored and feature African tribesmen of the Efik-Ibibio peoples dressed up as the elements with ceremonial masks as faces.

The Sun and Water are friends that live on the Earth. The Sun is always visiting his friend at his h
...more
Becky B
Sun invites Water to come over and visit, but Water insists Sun needs to build a bigger house first. So Sun and his wife Moon build a bigger house, and Water and all his family come to visit. But it turns out the Water's family fills the hut to overflowing and Sun and Moon end up pushed out to the sky, where they stay.

There's a nice note at the beginning of this book telling where the author first heard this tale and how the illustrations were chosen to represent tribes all over Africa. If you'r
...more
Shannon Brasher
This is an entertaining folklore book to read to young students. It tells a story, which is said to have originated in Africa, about how the sun and the moon came to live in the sky. I liked this book because it was shorter than some of the other folklore books I have read which would make this perfect for children of all ages. I loved the illustrations and not only do I think they do a good job representing African people as a whole, it would lead to a fun art project with the students. You cou ...more
babyhippoface
Jan 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
The sun and the water are friends who enjoy spending time together, but the sun always has to go to the water's house because the water will never go to the sun's house. When the sun asks why, the water says that he and his people take up too much room. The sun builds a big house so the water can visit. When the water comes with all his people, he takes up the entire house and the sun and moon (sun's wife) have to go on the roof to escape. More of the water's people keep coming, and soon the sun ...more
Yesenia MR
Nov 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is an African folktale about why the sun and moon live in the sky. The sun and water are friends and the moon is the sun's wife. It is always the sun that has to go visit his friend water. So the sun ask why he doesn't go visit the sun at his house and the water said because sun's house isn't big enough for water and his people. Sun goes out and build a bigger house so that water and his people can come over. But water's people are too many and push the sun and moon to the roof of their hou ...more
Madeline
Jun 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013
This African folktale tells the story of why the sun and the moon are in the sky. In the story, both moon and sun live on land. Sun insists that his friend water visit. Water warns the sun that in order for him to visit he will need a very large house to hold all of water’s people. Moon helps Water build a house, but it is not big enough. Water and his people take up all the room and Sun and Moon nowhere to go but the sky. This is where they stay forever.

This story is silly. I really enjoyed th
...more
Brindi Michele
1969 Caldecott Honor

I actually want to give this 2 1/2 STARS because I liked it better than the other version I read (which at the time I thought was the Caldecott honor...) This version was shorter and straight to the point, and I liked the take on the illustrations. I think both versions had okay illustrations, and very different ways of displaying them. This one was as if you could put it on as a play.
Jamie
Nov 07, 2012 rated it liked it
African folklore story about how the sun and moon ended up in the sky. Cute book and more details than another similar one I read. And the other one I read didn't mention it being related to African folklore... So I liked this one, but overall I liked the other one better, which just had to do with why the sun lives in the sky. Probably Level 1 or 2 book. Kid I read it with loved it and wanted me to read it again!
Lizzie
Apr 10, 2015 rated it did not like it
This is probably the dumbest book ever. It's worse than anything I've ever read, and It. Is. Pointless.

Basically, read it if you want to waste your time.

It was so bad, I felt my IQ lowering mega fast.

CONTAINS SPOILERS:
It's basically telling you how the sun and the moon got into the sky. (The water pushed them out of the house.) I mean, is that dumb or what? Yeah. I'd say it is.

I would give it zero stars if I could, but I can't. Sadly.
Samantha
This is an african folktale explaining why the sun and the moon live in the sky. I like this book because it shows how different cultures have made explanations for the way our world is made up. I think this book would be good for students to see how people explain the world from a different perspective.
Nicole Eschweiler
Feb 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
This story is a great tale that tells the story of how the sun and moon came to live in the sky. This is a good story for children because it helps give them a explanation for the unexplainable. While the story is of course untrue it is a great resource to use in your classroom when talking about tales.
Mary
Good introduction to folk tales. The story also lends itself to how we can create our own stories, Sometimes stories are true and sometimes stories are pretend. Sometimes stories are told to explain how or why something happened. This is a good way to talk about different cultures as well. The illustrations and masks show one of Africa's cultures.
Rachel
May 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: for-wee-ones
I read this to a class using a story apron and velcro characters. I wouldn't say it was successful as a read-aloud at all, and the cut-out characters didn't really convey the story very well. I think it could have been done more effectively with some thought. As it's a Caldecott Medal book with drawings too fine for distance viewing, it probably makes more sense for a one-on-one reading.
Paul
This African story is simply told with wonderful illustrations that depict what appears to be a tribal drama, with the characters ranging from sun, moon and water to all water's many companions, wearing tribal masks and decorative clothing. Being overrun by the water, the sun and moon are forced into the sky. This earlier version far outshines Niki Daly's harder-to-comprehend 1995 rendition.
Marissa Pezzullo
Apr 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: folklore
This book caught me off guard because after i read it, I thought wow this actually makes sense. This book talks about why it is that the sun and the moon are in the sky. It is because the water god basically flooded the ground and they actually floated up to the sky on a roof. This would be a fun story to tell in the classroom.
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