When the Sun Rose

Publisher: Philomel Books, 1986

Editor: Ann Beneduce

Art Director: Nanette Stevenson

When the Sun Rose, by Barbara Helen Berger

A magic friend comes with her lion from the yellow rose of the rising sun. She stays to play: “The lion purred. And we made rainbows all day.” At sunset, the friend must leave, but she promises to return. “Now it is dark. My friend is gone. But she will come again, I know, for the rainbow we made is still on the wall. And my house is full of roses.”

Author’s comments:

Children love the bright colors in this book, they have told me. The original printer (in Belgium) had to mix a special yellow ink for the rose of the sun and the lion. When I painted the illustrations, I wanted for a radiant warmth to permeate the book, from sunrise to sunset. This would be sunshine of course, but more than that, the radiance and warmth of friendship too.

The book is dedicated to Sherry, whom I met in the first grade. We were best friends all through school and still are the closest of friends to this day.

From When the Sun Rose, by Barbara Helen Berger

“Her lion came in with her.”


Child Magazine
Jan/Feb 1988, p.48
Piccadilly section, ed. Jill Krementz

… In Barbara Helen Berger’s world, fantasy and mythology overwhelm reality. Her new book, When the Sun Rose … is illustrated with the same award-winning style as Grandfather Twilight and The Donkey’s Dream. The reader can evolve and embellish the story to appeal to different ages and awareness. Here, an imaginary friend visits the heroine along with her gentle, purring lion. The two friends play and then it is time for the friend to leave. Will she come again? “Yes,” is the promise. And the separation is less exquisitely painful. The story can be explored on many levels, as it addresses a child’s loneliness and fears.

Seattle Weekly
The Weekly’s Holiday Gift Guide, December 3, 1986
Reviewed by Ms. Sutton’s class at Montessori School of Seattle, ages 3-5

In Berger’s book, the sunrise brings friendship to a girl who receives a magical visitor dressed in luminous yellow roses and accompanied by a golden lion. “The gold fur makes me feel happy” said one young reviewer. “I like the roses left behind,” said another, referring to the still-shining scattering of flowers that remains after sunset and the friend’s departure. The children were particularly responsive to the book’s vivid coloring. All wanted to hear it read again.

The Horn Book Magazine
Jan/Feb 1987

… On one level this book can be seen as a simple, gentle story of friendship. A small girl relates an imaginary experience with her visitor, another small girl who came when the sun rose. … The artist has chosen to use the clear primary colors of a child’s paint set or crayon box … On another level adults may read the book as an allegory or a symbolic fantasy with suggestions of the peaceable kingdom. Certainly the domesticated, kittenish lion reclining with the dolls reinforces this view. But the story’s chief strengths are the beautiful illustrations, the delineation of a child’s imaginary experience, and the power of friendship.

Oct. 15, 1986

… The variation in picture size, from small close-ups of the dolls to elongated spreads, adds flow to the day’s happening and lends a cinematic quality. The combination of vibrant colors, strong composition, and margin motif together frame a sensation, like a daydream visualized. That the friend may be imagined only adds to the book’s appeal. As with Berger’s previous books, … this picture book provides a vivid showcase for a simple story.

—Julie Cummins, Monroe County Library System, Rochester, N.Y.

Publishers Weekly
Sept. 26, 1986

… Berger’s skillful blending of the metaphysical and a child’s inner life make this an inspired work of art.

The Christian Science Monitor
Thursday, April 9, 1987

… Glowing with bold color, [the pictures] entice the reader into this imaginative tale of a solitary girl and the unusual playmate who appears one day on her doorstep. The story is allegorical, and can be read on several levels, but the simplicity of Berger’s text make it accessible to even the youngest reader, and her eye-catching artwork will have children asking for it again and again.

—Heather Vogel Frederick, staff writer

Bainbridge Review / Kitsap County Herald
Wednesday, November 12, 1986
At your leisure feature by Theresa Morrow

… As with all of Berger’s children’s books, When the Sun Rose has a dreamlike quality that takes a reader–whether adult or child–into a world of the imagination where anything might happen, even a visit from a child of the sun and a lion.

It is, the author says, “a book about friendship–friendship that happens to everyone, but that is peculiar to girls. The spirit of a long girl friendship pervades the book.”

Because of that spirit, Berger dedicated the book to her friend, Sherry Sullivan, whom she met in first grade. The two have been friends ever since. …

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The Donkey’s Dream
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As he walks along, a donkey dreams he is carrying a city, a ship, a fountain, a rose, then a “lady full of heaven” upon his back. When the lady gives birth in a cave, she calls the donkey to her: “See what we have carried all this way, you and I.”

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All the Way to Lhasa: A Tale from Tibet
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Learning to do calligraphy, I fell in love with Medieval illuminated manuscripts. I wanted to try and make one for children of our own time. I was also exploring Buddhism and Christianity and found a great compassionate heart in both. In Buddhism, this big heart includes not only human beings, but all beings, even small insects.

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Gwinna, by Barbara Helen Berger

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The Jewel Heart
The Jewel Heart, by Barbara Helen Berger

On a small stage on the forest floor, two dolls play out their story. Gemino gives his song to Pavelle with the only voice he has, his violin, and she cannot dance without him. But one day Gemino is lost, and Pavelle sets out to find and then to fix her broken friend if she can. A story of the healing power of love.

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Angels on a Pin
Angels on a Pin, by Barbara Helen Berger

There is a famous old question: How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? Long-ago philosophers used to ponder that. Ideas still come from asking questions. ANGELS ON A PIN begins with one we can ask any time: What if?

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Thunder Bunny
Thunder Bunny, by Barbara Helen Berger

When old Granny says, “She came out of the blue,” Thunder Bunny wonders, “I did?” She ponders the sky where clouds come and go yet the blue is always there. “I came from the sky.” The others pooh-pooh that, but Thunder Bunny decides to jump on the wind and find out.

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Where to Find My Books

Moonlet’s book from A Lot of Otters