The Boy Who Woke the Sun

The Boy Who Woke the Sun

by A. T. Woodley
illustrated by Mike Deas
Red Deer Press, 2023
ISBN 978-0889956858
$14.95, 280 pp, ages 12 – 16

As Elliot explains, “This book is about a boy who fell into another world, meets an octopus there, and they become fast friends. Together they search for a way to get home, journeying across a land filled with butterflies that steal your happiness. But with the help of an old lady, a machine man, and a singing cowboy, they make it through. And the boy saved the octopus, and the octopus saved the boy, and together, they brought light back into the world.”

Elliot, caught in the bubble of one of his own dreams, is transported to the world of Lappanthia. Here, he embarks on a number of adventures as he goes on an epic journey. He is challenged to find his true path, remain brave and loyal to his friends, and defeat evil. The book is filled with adventurous twists and turns but the author is able to describe a compelling other world and keeps the plot and the characters believable, emphasizing compassion, beauty, and caring for others.

Classroom Connections: This story of an epic journey, with a hero searching for the way home, is reminiscent of other famous epic journeys such as those in the Odyssey and The Wizard of Oz, and in that way, it invites comparisons to other literary works the students may be familiar with. The elements of allegory invite students to think about what human qualities might be represented by the butterflies, the robot, the octopus, etc. Fantasy can dramatically emphasize the importance of good decision-making in life-threatening situations. Having students identify the crossroads the hero encounters and the paths he chooses and connecting these to crossroads students may encounter in their real world helps solidify the value of good moral choices.

Review by Betty Schultze.

This review is featured in Candian Teacher Magazine’s Spring 2024 issue.

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