author/illustrator: Jami Gigot
Hardcover picture book
8.5 x 10.5 inches
Release date: March 20, 2018
Other titles by this author: Mae and the Moon
About the Book
Seb is determined to find some light for his sleepy coastal town. It is so far north, the sun does not shine in winter and the days are cold, dreary, and dark as night. So Seb embarks on a mission to find the sun. Along with his friend Walrus, he makes a plan, collects supplies, and rows far out to sea.
Will Seb be able to find the sun and bring its light and warmth back to his town?
About the Author/Illustrator
Jami Gigot is the author/illustrator of the picture book Mae and the Moon, and has worked as a digital artist on several motion pictures.
In addition to writing and drawing, she enjoys combing the shoreline for treasures with her family. Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, she now lives in Vancouver, BC.
From BookPage, April 6, 2018:
In this warm story about a cold place (a “sleepy coastal town far in the north”), a boy named Seb misses the sun, which is altogether absent during the winter. Seb loves to find treasures on the shore, like washed-up bottles, and he wants to bring the sun to his town, if only briefly.
Seb formulates a plan and gathers supplies from his neighbors, and he and his pet walrus row out to sea. After attaching some rope, yarn and fishing line to a bucket, Seb hurls it across the water, well past the edges of the page and into the next spread. Not seeing any immediate results, Seb falls asleep in the boat and wakes to his bucket filled with sunlight. He carefully pours it into the empty bottles he’s collected at the beach and returns home to distribute his little vessels of sunshine to all of his neighbors.
It would be hard to keep such a dark, shadowy palette interesting, but author-illustrator Jami Gigot uses a light touch (so to speak)—Northern lights, white snows and the lights of the town illuminate the pages. Gigot’s detailed drawings of Seb’s neighbors at work are the heart of the tale. Readers grow to care for them as Seb does. His impressive bucket toss on the water provides a funny, hyperbolic moment of charm in an otherwise dark story. How this considerate boy catches the sunlight is a mystery to readers, Gigot leaves to our imagination the moment in which the bucket lands. But what matters is that Seb cared enough about his community to do so. -Julie Danielson
From Publishers Weekly, March 2018:
In this gently mysterious companion to Mae and the Moon, Gigot introduces Seb, a child in a village “so far north that the sun did not shine in winter and the days were cold, dreary, and dark as night.” Gigot’s story quickly takes a fantastical turn. Seb—who wears Viking-style horns—and his beachcombing companion, a walrus, go in search of the sun. They first consult town residents for supplies: miners for rope, an elderly lady for yarn, Old Bruce Brewster for fishing line, and Mr. and Mrs. Muktuk for a bucket. In dreamlike sequences rendered in stormy blues and grays accented by the Northern Lights, the pair rows a boat into the bay. They toss out their bucket, which eventually fills with a dusty, golden light. Back home, they pour the light into bottles and share the lanternlike results with the people of the village. Gigot integrates Native American coastal art motifs, suggesting that this evocative and visually sumptuous story is set in Northern Canada or Alaska. Ages 4–7.
From Quill and Quire, February, 2018:
Excerpt: The images in Seb and the Sun are rich and deep. Despite its location, Seb’s town feels warm and alive. The boy’s Viking-style winter hat is a nice touch, too. Gigot takes a risk in choosing a setting stuck in perpetual darkness, but it pays off handsomely. Most of the book’s colours are muted to the point where parents will need the aid of a good reading light, which has the paradoxical effect of drawing the reader in. It also makes the appearance of the captured sunshine all the more welcome and joyful.
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From School Library Journal, January 2018:
Seb is a young boy who loves the sun, but, he lives in the far north country, where it is dark, cold, and dreary for much of the year. Nonetheless, Seb and his companion, Walrus, enjoy their days combing the beach for treasures, especially for empty bottles washed ashore. The dark blue hues and interesting perspectives of the illustrations manage to make this forbidding environment appear quite sweet and inviting. Fed up with the cold, Seb and Walrus set out to find the sun, a theme reminiscent of traditional literature. He brings bottles of sunlight back to the town and warms everyone's heart. Gigot's illustrations capture the personality of this tiny mining and fishing community, especially when it is aglow with a warmth of the sun.
VERDICT: A beautifully calming story perfect for bedtime reading.
-Susan Small, Salve Regina University Library, Newport, RI
From Booklist, January 1, 2018:
This quiet story begins in darkness. It depicts a sleepy town, which is dim and dreary day and night in winter. Gigot’s dark landscape is softened by the patches of snow on mountainsides and rooftops and the light within buildings, giving a sense of the sweetness to come. Seb, a resourceful child spends his dark days searching for treasures with his friend Walrus, while enjoying honey sandwiches with the crusts cut off. Not much happens in these first pages; illustrations present the landscape and Seb’s treasure hunting.The busiest spread shows his neighbors at work: mining, knitting, and carving. Then Seb gets an idea. With supplies from his friends and Walrus's help, he sets out on an adventure to catch sunshine and share it. Gigot’s illustrations advance the story, providing details beyond the simple text. Seb wears a Viking helmet as journeys across the Nordic setting, and the interior of his room, his paintings, and his collections provide more details about his personality. Despite the prevalent darkness, this is a story that always feels warm. For many young American readers, it provides new perspective, and a quiet lesson about the sweetness of a hero who shares his treasure when he gains it. The end pages, like Seb himself, are full of sunshine. — Edie Ching
From Midwest Book Review, December 2017:
Seb is determined to find some light for his sleepy coastal town. It is so far north, the sun does not shine in winter and the days are cold, dreary, and dark as night. So Seb embarks on a mission to find the sun. Along with his friend Walrus, he makes a plan, collects supplies, and rows far out to sea. Will Seb be able to find the sun and bring its light and warmth back to his town? A superbly crafted children's picture book by author/illustrator Jami Gigot for youngsters ages 5 to 7, "Seb and the Sun" is original and consistently entertaining, making it an unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.
From Foreword Reviews, January/February Issue:
Far to the north where winter chases the sun away and the days are dark and drab, Seb and his friend Walrus conspire to bring light and warmth to their snowy coastal town. Beautifully depicted scenes full of murky shadow and softly glowing lanterns give Seb’s home a stark and otherworldly quality, while his sense of adventure, penchant for crust-free sandwiches, and friendly walks along the beach and pier are sure to warm the heart. -Pallas Gates McCorquodale
From Kirkus Reviews, November 22, 2017:
Seb's coastal village lies so far north the sun doesn't shine during winter, making even daytime beach treasure hunts with his walrus companion "cold, dreary, and dark as night." Wearing his distinctive, Viking-horned winter hat, Seb sets out to find some sun for his small but diverse community. Little, pale Seb greets local friends: "old Bruce Brewster," a darker-skinned, bearded fisherman; a bespectacled white knitter named Mrs. Vandermuss; a mixed group of miners sipping soup and coffee; and Mr. and Mrs. Muktuk, cued as Pacific Northwest Native Americans who wear furred parkas and carve totem poles. These neighbors provide pockets of warmth, light, and encouragement. Similarly, Gigot's artwork, while overcast, provides engrossing details in street and window vignettes, with patches of lemony yellows and arctic whites contributing buoying moments of firelight, lamplight, and snow. The text, set in a candlelight yellow, glows on inky backgrounds. Readers might squint at what seem at first to be gloomy, digitally painted pencil illustrations, but they will soon feel lifted in noting people of varying skin tones, occupations, and ages, all engaged in productive work. Seb feels his work is to find sunlight for his neighbors, even if it means rowing all the way out to sea.
Some might find the ending contrived, but it's hard not to feel warmed by a luminous resolution so full of love. Otherworldly but with luminous pictures of a remote community.