Sivu’s Six Wishes by Jude Daly
A retelling of an old Taoist tale, this is the story of Sivu, a stonecarver. Sivu could make amazing things from stone but despite his skill, he never made a lot of money and turned bitter. One day, when carving a statue for a wealthy man, Sivu dreamed of how great that man’s life must be. Suddenly, Sivu was the wealthy man. He had plenty of power and wealth, but everyone despised him. Then Sivu was stopped by the mayor’s procession and he dreamed of being the mayor with all of his power. Suddenly, Sivu was the mayor. But again, everyone hated him. Sivu looked out over the gardens and saw the sun. He wished he could be the sun, and he was. He shone down, far too fiercely, and created a drought. Then a storm cloud came over the sky and Sivu the sun could not move it. He wished he could be the powerful rain cloud, and he was. Now he rained too harshly and caused a flood. Eventually, the wind blew him out to sea. Sivu wished he was the wind, and he was. He blew and blew, until one day he came across something that he could not move. He wished he could become that, and he did. He was a huge rock, completely unmovable until one day…
This is a story that makes the themes of power, wealth, and desire come alive. Daly has created a very readable text that moves briskly from wish to wish, examining each one and then going on. She has set the story in the present day, making it all the more accessible to modern children. This is both an old story and a new one, vibrant across time. Daly has illustrated the book with modern illustrations that are bright colored and busy. They convey both the hustle of the modern day and the timelessness of the story with ease.
Recommended as a way to get children talking about envy and contentment, need, wealth and power, this book leaves nothing to wish for. Appropriate for ages 6-9.
Reviewed from copy received from Eerdmans.