Rupa Raises the Sun
For 21,954 mornings, old Rupa has roused herself from bed to tromp around her cookfire in the dark and bring on the dawn. So when she develops a blister and asks the elders for some time off, they are naturally flummoxed. Who else in the village but Rupa can get the rooster crowing, the goats giving milk? Both sly and silly, Rupa will be recognizable to any child who understands the power game.
Awards and Recognition
Minnesota Book Awards finalist
- Go to this website to learn how to make a sundial: click here!
- Sing “You Are My Sunshine.”
- Create some sunny pictures.
- Read some other celestial folktales such as: How the Chipmunk Got His Stripes by Joseph and James Bruchac or Starry Tales by Geraldine McCaughrean.
Thanks to Kathy Johnson, media specialist in Alexandria, Minnesota, for these suggestions.
As I was thinking about light and about the coming of the new year, my eyes fell on another new picture book, “Rupa Raises the Sun” by Minnesota author Marsha Wilson Chall, with illustrations by Roseanne Litzinger (DK Ink, 1998, $15.95). In this folktale, Rupa gets up faithfully each morning to tromp around her cookfire until the sun breaks “across the sky like an egg yolk.” Each morning, Rupa yells “Eureka” and her rooster crows. Rupa finally tires of her job, and when she develops a huge blister on her foot, other villagers agree to take their turn trying to raise the sun. All through the night, they try schemes that don’t work. No, it’s up to Rupa. When worn-out Rupa sleeps in and wakes to a moment when a “thin light spilled in the east, spread beyond the rim of night, and dazzled the early sky,” she has no idea how it happened. “Gracias, sol!” she cries, settling back into bed. The sun which, like a new year, will come with or without our efforts, just beams. (Grand Forks Herald)
Rupa, the long-suffering protagonist of this humorous poke at Old World folk tales, has initiated 21,954 sunups and needs a break. Her pre-dawn trips around the “cookfire” bring on the sunrise, and after so many repeat performances she has an oozing blister on her toe. For advice, Rupa visits the three turbaned village wise men, who decide to hold “sun-raising tryouts” to find a suitable stand-in: Can the blacksmith do it, or the goat farmer or baker? In spreads of bulbous-nosed, cartoonish characters with the text set unobtrusively in the upper regions of swirling color backdrops, Chall (Up North at the Cabin) and Litzinger (The Someday House) have come up with a quirky, warmhearted work for sophisticated readers. When weary Rupa takes center stage to rest her bare, swollen foot on the breakfast table where the elders confer—with coffee spilling and eyeballs rolling—readers will share the wise men’s consternation. Chall maintains a wry tone, as when the farmer urges his goats to give milk, which he hopes will in turn bring on the dawn: “Isabella, if you please. But she didn’t. Hortense couldn’t. Camilla wouldn’t. No sun, no milk.” The elders’ superstitious suggestion that Rupa walk around her cookfire backward to keep the sun from setting will have readers chuckling, as will Litzinger’s drawing of the many stages of Rupa’s dutiful orbit around the flames. While some children may find the tale confusing, its message will resonate with adults: the world goes ’round, with or without them. (Publishers Weekly)
illustrator, Rosanne Litzinger
DK Publishing, 1998
ages 5 and up
Look for this public at your favorite library or used bookseller.