Brimir and Hulda are best friends who live on a small island on a beautiful blue planet where there are only children and no adults. Their planet is wild and at times dangerous, but everything is free, everyone is their friend, and each day is more exciting than the last.
One day a rocket ship piloted by a strange-looking adult named Gleesome Goodday crashes on the beach. His business card claims he is a “Dream.ComeTrueMaker and joybringer,” and he promises to make life a hundred times more fun with sun-activated flying powder and magic-coated skin so that no one ever has to bathe again. Goodday even nails the sun in the sky and creates a giant wolf to chase away the clouds so it can be playtime all the time. In exchange for these wonderful things, Goodday asks only for a little bit of the children’s youth—but what is youth compared to a lot more fun? The children are so enamored with their new games that they forget all the simple activities they used to love.
During Goodday’s great flying competition, Hulda and Brimir fly too high to the sun and soar to the other side of planet, where they discover it is dark all the time and the children are sickly and pale. Hulda and Brimir know that without their help, the pale children will die, but first they need to get back to their island and convince their friends that Gleesome Goodday is not all that he seems.
A fantastical adventure, beautifully told, unfolds in a deceptively simple tale. The Story of the Blue Planet will delight and challenge readers of all ages.
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.