Thursday, November 20, 2008

The contest between the sun and the wind

The contest between the sun and the wind

An Aesop's fable
retold by Heather Forest
illustrated by Susan Gaber
published by August House

Ages 4-8

Our local library has a special multicultural shelf. And every week, the librarian dutifully updates it for her personal picks of books from around the world. A trip to the library, for me, is never complete, without stopping by this shelf. And I end up picking almost every title there. This time, when I saw this Aesop's Fable, I was suitably excited.

My 5 year old was very taken with the cover picture. He loved how the sun big and bright and cheery. And he was very intrigued by the other sour face. Who is this?...he asked. Its the wind...I reply. In this respect alone, Susan Gaber has made an impact. We begin reading.

Many of us are already familiar with the story. How there was once a man in a warm coat, walking along a winding road. The Sun and the Wind, high in the sky, watch his progress, and between them....a conversation unfolds. The Wind brags about its might and declares that he is the strongest and much stronger than the Sun. The Sun, in turn, invites him to a contest to prove it, the contest being...who will be able to take the coat off of that man on the road.

The Wind launches into the attack right away and makes lofty declarations how he would take the man's coat off with ease. And he starts blowing. But the man clutches onto his coat tighter.

The Wind grows loud.
The Wind grows cold.
The shivering man buttoned his coat.

And this goes on and on for a little while. The whole world seems to be a blur of dust and leaves. But the harder the wind tries, the tighter the man holds on to this coat. Finally, discouraged, The Wind goes off. And now, its the Sun's turn.

The Sun peeked out from behind a cloud
warming the air and the frosty ground.

And as this happens, the most beautiful sight unfolds on the page. All is green and, birds are flying in the sky, rainbows appear out of nowhere, sunflowers bloom and magic is in the air. There is a complete change of mood, and we, as the reader, are carried along with it. The man unbuttons his coat and starts to sing. The Sun shines brighter and brighter and brighter and...

The man began to feel so hot
he took off his coat
and sat down in a shady spot.

By this time, the Wind has returned and he sees the man with his coat off. Amazed, he asks...

How did you FORCE him to take off his coat?

And the sun replies...

I did not force him at all. I lit the day!
Through gentleness, I won my way.

I adored this punchline. Through gentleness I won my way. I felt it was a great conclusion to guide my kindergartener to. And it might just prove useful when I next have to don my referee hat and mediate between the warring siblings under our roof!

1 comment:

MotherReader said...

I love that tale and tell it in my program about wind. I'll look for the book.

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