Marsha Wilson Chall

Marsha Wilson Chall

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)

Rupa Raises the Sun

illus­tra­tor, Rosanne Litzinger
DK Pub­lish­ing, 1998
ISBN 978–0‑78942–4969
ages 5 and up
32 pages

Look for this pub­lic at your favorite library or used bookseller.

illus­tra­tion © Rosanne Litzinger, from Rupa Rais­es the Sun, writ­ten by Mar­sha Wil­son Chall, DK Pub­lish­ing, 1998