Patricia Polacco often writes tales focused on historical stories and cultural differences, but she has also created picture books that have a bit more fancy to them. With a bit of imagination, wonder, and a surprising ending, she spins a tale that is like a mythological story that will leave every reader with a smile on his or her face.
Within the pages of I Can Hear the Sun, readers meet a young boy named Fondo. He has nowhere to live and is very sad and lonely. Readers will quickly feel sorry for him, and when he meets up with Stephanie Michele, it seems like there may be some hope for him. Stephanie takes care of the geese that live on the lakeshore and when Fondo asks if he can help, she agrees. Fondo and Stephanie both claim they can hear the sun, which is how Fondo learns the names of the geese. Fondo also believes that people could fly at one time, stating that, “We just forgot how. If we’d think hard enough, we’d remember.”
So when the geese get ready to fly away for the winter, Fondo announces he’s been invited to join them on their journey. What’s more, social workers come looking for Fondo in order to take him away, but once the geese leave, everyone is shocked to see Fondo flying away with them.
I Can Hear the Sun is a unique mix of real world problems and amazing endings. Patricia Polacco accompanies her story of miracles with illustrations that are realistic and beautiful, done in pencil detail and typical Polacco coloring methods. Kids will not expect such an ending, and it can come as a delightful shock when Fondo flies away. Throughout the book, people question whether he is “slow” or “special.” Indeed, Fondo is a special child, learning to fly with geese into the beautiful glow of the orange sky.
Written for children ages 4 to 8, it gives kids a taste of magic and fantasy and can quickly become a favorite, which can lead to many dog-eared pages and lovingly worn out covers.