The Contest Between the Sun & the Wind
This ancient tale celebrates the power of gentleness. Walking along a winding road, a man finds himself swept into a magical world where a contest of strength takes place. Illustrated by Susan Gaber. August House Publishers, 2008.
Forest preserves the basic plot of this brief Aesopian chestnut, but recasts the language into typically buoyant, often-rhymed cadences that highlight the Wind’s brutality and the Sun’s gentleness. Likewise, in the sky over a fanciful landscape through which a lone man in modern dress treks, Gaber pairs off a soft but solid-looking orb sporting rainbow-colored eyes and a benevolent smile against a stormy spirit that is all fierce scowls and swirls of spattered paint. Dedicated “to Peace Makers everywhere,” this fresh rendition will please young eyes and ears.
This fable is beautifully retold in simple verse, bringing a timeless message to young readers. A man walks along a winding road and is thrown in the middle of a contest between the Sun and the Wind over who can get him to take off his coat. The magical setting and the conflict between the two elements is brought out well in the highly fanciful, painterly illustrations. The Wind, depicted as an angry green-eyed face with bushy eyebrows, tries to blow the coat off the man, but all the huffing and puffing only prompts him to clutch the garment tighter. Then the Sun comes out, also round-faced, but with a gentle smile and rainbow-colored eyes, and warms the surroundings slowly so that the man slips off his jacket and sits down under a tree. The Wind asks, “How did you FORCE him to take off his coat?” Wisely the Sun replies, “Through gentleness I won my way.” A spread at the end shows the man playing the flute and tumbling down a rainbow, evoking the happiness and transformation caused by the Sun’s gentle approach, with the flummoxed Wind looking down on the scene.
-School Library Journal