Most people would say there is nothing good about trudging to school on a rainy day while the wind crawls up your sleeves and puddles soak your boots, making your footsteps squish and squash. That is what most people would say. But not Sunny. Sunny thought this day was the perfect day to use her big yellow umbrella. And it was.
Sunny is a positive kid. She sees the glass half-full and can find the silver lining on every cloud. She also has an admirable imagination. The book introduces readers to Sunny as she is walking to school with a smile on her face, a beacon of sunshine amidst the downcast faces of her soggy, frowning peers “trudging” through the rain. When a gust of wind tugs at Sunny’s umbrella, she imagines herself soaring through the sky with the birds, high over her town. Things get even more out of hand when she gets caught out at sea in a storm. A double-page spread in the middle of the book invites readers to turn the book vertically to emphasize the height of Sunny’s tumble from the sky when her umbrella inverts, with four panels showing Sunny holding on to her broken umbrella as “down, down, down she fell”. Sunny even finds a way to be thankful that she’s in a boat adrift at sea (at least she doesn’t have to swim to safety through the tempestuous waves).
However, as Sunny’s condition continues to worsen (a giant wave threatens to capsize her little boat, her boat gets marooned on a giant rock, her seagull friend who has been with her since she was swept into the skies seemingly abandons her), she finally allows herself to shed a tear. But just when Sunny has given up hope, her seagull friend comes back with all its other bird friends (a robin, a mallard duck, a heron, a Canada goose, etc.) to rescue her by picking up the boat and flying her to dry land. They drop her off in her school yard, and, even though she’s late for class (and most people would say that was “a bad kind of situation”), Sunny doesn’t regret her adventure and is sure her teacher will understand. The final page shows a smiling Sunny gazing dreamily out the window (her hair a little worse for wear) as her seagull friend flies by.
I was charmed by the character Sunny who reminds readers to find joy in embracing a different perspective. With its simple, bright colour palette of different shades of blue-green and golden yellows, this book looks striking and unique. Notably, every page (with the exception of the final page) is a double-page spread. Diverse characters (kids and teachers), soft, curved lines, and happy colours make Sunny a gentle, inviting, and creative little story about looking on the bright side.
Andrea Zorzi is a librarian working for Toronto Public Library in Ontario.