Reviews for Story of the Blue Planet

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
This Icelandic import tells the story of a planet of contented, fulfilled children who fall prey to a man who arrives in a rocket ship and offers infinite happiness if they give up that which makes them special (their youth). Strange-looking illustrations and a preachy tone may alienate readers astute enough to understand Magnason's underlying commentaries on foreign aid, consumerism, and environmentalism.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 September #1
A traveling salesman tricks an island of innocent, ageless children into selling their most valuable possession for fun and games in this undoubtedly metaphorical tale. When Gleesome Goodday--looking in the illustrations like an evil clown clad in a Hawaiian shirt--emerges from his rocket ship promising to make everyone's sweetest dreams come true, Brimir, Hulda and the rest of the children happily exchange percentages of their "youth" for such benefits as the ability to fly and dirt-proof coatings of Teflon. In no time (literally, as Goodday also nails the sun into the sky), the children have abandoned their previously idyllic lives to learn about commerce, ownership, democratic politics and making bombs. It's all a laugh riot until Brimir and Hulda discover that all the children and animals on the other side of their world are pining away in perpetual darkness and notice that they themselves and all their playmates have gone gray. No worries, though: by abruptly turning Goodday into a fool who is easily tricked into freeing the Sun and emptying his tanks of hoarded Youth, the Icelandic author engineers a facile happy ending. A few scary incidents and the references to poop and nasty food that are evidently required in all European light fiction add bits of savor to an otherwise bland import with a cautionary message that is, at best, vague. (Fantasy. 10-12) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 September #2

While fairly unknown in the U.S., Magnason is an acclaimed author in his native Iceland. His sly, smart parable, first published in 1999, takes aim at the central dilemma of the developed world: is it ethical to be happy at the cost of others' suffering? The tranquil Blue Planet, inhabited only by children, is jolted when fast-talking grownup Gleesome Goodday parachutes in and teaches its children to fly. (To supply the service on a permanent basis he charges them, insidiously, just the tiniest fraction of their youth.) Blown off course, friends Brimir and Hulda find out quite by chance that because they can fly, another group of children has no sunlight, safety, or food. Mr. Goodday is unruffled by their discovery: "There's as much happiness in the world now as there was previously, it's just been readjusted," he says. Dahl-like wit and a couple of eccentrically Arctic moments (seals are for eating, and Brimir and Hulda suckle the milk of a she-wolf) make this a memorable and provocative tale, and a splendid opener for discussions about our own blue planet. Ages 8-12. (Oct.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 March

Gr 4-6--Those who enjoyed Adam Gidwitz's A Tale Dark and Grimm (Dutton, 2010) may find Magnason's cautionary ecological tale a perfect complement. Like Gidwitz, Magnason does not shy away from graphic descriptions of danger and death. That being said, as in all good fables, he begins with once upon a time and readers learn of an innocuous-looking blue planet floating in space. It is inhabited solely by children, who live an idyllic, although somewhat savage life (they hunt for food, even clubbing seals). They are happy and this is most fully realized once a year when the butterflies of the Blue Mountains follow the sun across the sky, a beautiful and breathtaking sight. But as in all good tales and life itself, things are never static. Enter the villain, Mr. Goodday, who lands on the planet and is discovered by the protagonists, Brimir and Hulda. Mr. Goodday, over the course of a very short time, corrupts the children by giving them the power to fly and by introducing them to, among other things, the concept of selfishness. In the process the planet is corrupted as well, affecting the entire ecosystem. After a number of harrowing events, Mr. Goodday is outsmarted by Hulda, who offers to fulfill his greatest wish in return for restoring the children and planet to their former states. Well-paced, with some wonderful, story-enhancing color illustrations.--Mary Beth Rassulo, Ridgefield Library, CT

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