Why the Sun and the Moon Live in the Sky

by elphinstone dayrell

Paperback, 1968



Call number

398.2 Day

Call number

398.2 Day

Local notes

398.2 Day



Scholastic Inc. (1968), Edition: Gift inscription Inside Cover, Paperback, 29 pages


An African folktale tells how the sun and water once lived on earth as friends, but because the sun failed to build his house large enough, he and his wife, the moon, were driven into the sky when the water came to visit them.


Original publication date


Physical description

29 p.; 9 inches


0590444751 / 9780590444750



Media reviews

Courtney E. Mahr
This is a great way to integrate multiculturalism into the classroom. It is also a great way to talk about why things are the way they are. Students will enjoy these books. It can also be an found as an e-book.

User reviews

LibraryThing member barnes08
This book is an African folktale about the sun and the moon, and how they came to live in the sky. The sun always went to the water’s house to visit him. The sun wondered why water would never come visit him at his house. Water said “with his people he would drive the sun out”. The sun said “I’ll build my house bigger”. The sun then built a bigger house. Finally, water and his people came and visit the sun. More and more water people came to the suns house. Eventually, so many people came that the sun and his wife the moon had go to the roof. More water people came, which made the sun and moon forced into the sky.

As a child I loved this book. Not until I was looking for a multicultural book did I know it was an African folktale. I think now, I like the story even more. As a child I loved the pictures in the book. I don’t remember reading many multicultural books as a child. I’m glad to know one of my favorite books is a multicultural.

I would, first before reading the story, talk about African folktales and the history of African tribes. I would discuss the pictures in the story. I believe the pictures make up a big part of the story. Older elementary child discuss why it was nominated as a Caldecott Honor. Younger students we could draw a picture of the sun and moon in the sky. Also talk about, why it’s good that sun and moon live in the sky, like the light they bring. Maybe find other multicultural book and have a week talking about other cultures.
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LibraryThing member HayleeKai
This is an african tale of how the elements came to inhabit certain places on Earth. The Sun really wants his friend Water to come and visit; however, Sun's house is too small. So, Sun builds a bigger house. Sadly, the house is still not big enough so Sun, and his wife Moon are forced into the air, while Water flows all around.… (more)
LibraryThing member mirandamae18
A story about how the Sun and Moon need to find a way to have Water come and visit them. They see Water’s help by asking what they need to do and he recommends that they build a bigger house so he will have room. When Water arrives, however, there ends up not being enough room and Sun and Moon are pushed to the sky where they still remain today. I think this story would be great to use with my third graders next year as a why to teach about myths and give ideas for writing our own.… (more)
LibraryThing member lnaeole
I loved how the book made all elements of life (moon,sun and water) as if they are people. It gave it a more personal feeling to the folktale and element.
LibraryThing member anacryan
African folktale explaining how the sun and the moon were forced to live in the sky after being pushed up by too many visitors from water and his people. For ages 5 and up. Caldecott winner.
LibraryThing member achertok
Why the Sun and the Moon Live in the Sky is a folktale from Africa. Its illustrations are beautiful, and its emphasis on the importance of keeping promises is useful in any classroom.
LibraryThing member brikayama
Nice version of the placement of celestial bodies. I can imagine reading this to young children and having them actually believe this story. It has nice illustrations representing the African country. It won a Caldecott Honor!
LibraryThing member EmilyPhilips
This book is a folktale about the sun being too generous and allowing the water and his friends into his house, only to end up pushing him and his wife (the moon) into the sky forever. It is a book aimed at an early to middle elementary level. Why the Sun and the Moon Live in the Sky teaches children a fun explanation for why things are the way they are today through a folktale; it encourages them to come up with their own stories for why things are the way they are.… (more)
LibraryThing member molly1717
This is a cute way of describing why the sun and the moon are in our sky. Very imaginative for young kids.
LibraryThing member Brooke28
This book has excellent pictures. Caldecott Winner! It is about how the moon and the sun now live the the sky. The sun tried very hard to please the moon and eventually the two rose up the live in the sky.
LibraryThing member angelabotha
I didn't particularly like this African folktale all that much. I think the reason I lost interest right off the bat was that the illustrations didn't appeal to me (the limited use of colors--which sometimes works in children's books--did not seem to work well in this one. The sun originally was good friends with the water and they lived on the earth together. The water tells the sun that if he wants him to visit him more often the sun needs to build a bigger house. The sun does this and when the water and its people attempt to flow in, the sun and the moon keep having to perch themselves higher and higher to accommodate them. As more and more of the water's people flow in the sun and moon are forced to go up in the sky, where they remain ever since.… (more)
LibraryThing member AmyLu
Long ago, the sun and water were friends on earth. One day the sun wants to invite Water and all his friends over, but his house is not big enough. Sun builds a bigger house and tells Water to come over with all of his friends. There are so many friends that eventually Sun and his wife Moon are forced to up into the sky where there is room.… (more)
LibraryThing member caitlin.wester
Why The Sun and The Moon Live In The Sky is a good "Why?" question book for children. The sun and moon lived on earth with water. Water was supposed to build a home big enough for all of his friends to live in. Because he failed to do so the sun and the moon went up to the sky so they would have a place to live.
LibraryThing member Emily_Cobenais
In this book it is explained through a story why the sun and moon "live" in the sky. It is a type of folktale that is common in many cultures to explain why things are the way they are. It is intended for elementary grades levels.
LibraryThing member juju1220
This is a tale about the relationship between the sun, water and the moon and why the sun and the moon live in the sky. I thought the story was imaginative and had good simplistic illustrations. It also demonstrated the culture from which the story was created from Southern Nigeria.
LibraryThing member HelenDiekoff
This is a tale on how the sun and the moon got into the sky. Their home wasn't large enough with all of the water so they made their way up into the sky. This book would be intended for young elementary age children.
LibraryThing member PatrickRiegert
The main theme of "Why the Sun and the Moon Live in the Sky" is that friendship is important. I liked the theme which made it engaging. I would recommend this book for grades 1-2
LibraryThing member alyssahagen
This is a great way to integrate multiculturalism into the classroom. It is also a great way to talk about why things are the way they are. I like this book because it is relatable to children and teaches about friendship. I would use this in a classroom of 1st-2md graders.
LibraryThing member NatRenschen
Why the Sun and the Moon Live in the Sky is a spunky, multicultural book that informs the reader about African culture and tradition. I like this book because it provides yet another different culture for kids to learn about. This would be suitable for kids in grades 1-4 for a unit on culture.
LibraryThing member SweetBeeBecky
I loved this version of the old African folk tale about how the sun and the moon came to live in the sky mostly because of the beautifully rendered illustrations, which are fairly one-dimensional, and reference those paintings which might have been found long ago in African cultures. This tale tells how the sun and the moon invited the water to their house, but it wasn't big enough to hold all of them. They built a bigger house, and water invited his friends from the sea to join in the party, and now there was no longer room for the sun and the moon, so they went up onto the roof. The creatures of the sea and the water also went up to the roof when the space filled below, and as a result, the sun and the moon had to move into the sky, where they have remained ever since. This tells a simple story which would complement a study of African culture or of folktales, and would be excellent to read as well if the them of friendship were being explored.… (more)
LibraryThing member CaseyKamps
Sun wants friend in water, who keeps coming so the sun and moon have to go to the sky to live and not drown. I do not think i will use this because it is very abstract for my liking. grades 1-4
LibraryThing member mstanley33
Why the Sun and Moon Live in the Sky by Elphinstone Dayrell is an African Folktale. The Sun and the Moon want to invite their friend Water over to their house but Water says that their house is not large enough for all of their people. The Sun and Moon built a new house to entertain their friend. Water and all of his people were invited over to the Sun and Moon's new house. The Sun and Moon had to go to the rooftop because there were so many people and eventually they were pushed to the sky and have stayed there ever since.

This would be a great book to introduce to 3rd-5th grades when learning about folktales. Children are very curious and have lots of questions. These books share stories that students can use their imaginations to create answers to their many questions. I would also use this book along with other traditional literature to compare and contrast folktales by different cultures.
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LibraryThing member MadeleinePemberton
In Why the Sun and the Moon Live in the Sky, "Water" visits "Sun" (and "Sun's" wife "Moon") but there is no room for "Water" to come into "Sun's" house. "Sun" builds progressively bigger and bigger houses to try and allow "Water" to visit but eventually so much "Water" comes in that it forces "Sun" and "Moon" onto the roof of the house and up into the sky. I like this book for its humor and because of its unique and interesting aztec-like illustrations, for which the book won a Caldecott honor. I would want to use this book in my teaching to discuss legends, and more specifically themes surrounding pourquoi stories, with Grades 1-4.… (more)
LibraryThing member Adrian.Gaytan
African folktale telling the story of how the moon and sun live in the sky. Story has great illustrations showing the story but are of African pictures. Great book to communicate culture and other nationalities. Great read for class and also starting point for discussion about story telling. Myths, cultural beliefs, traditions.
Kids can interpret and give ideas of how things are how they are in environment. Why does sun seem bright? Stars come out only at night? Pre cursor for independent writing.
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LibraryThing member SydneySays
This book is an African folktale about the sun and the moon. In this folktale the sun and the moon are husband and wife. The sun and the moon are friends with the ocean and they all live on Earth together. One day the sun invites the ocean over to his and the moon's house. The ocean tells the sun he must first build a house big enough for him and all of his friends. When the sun is done building a new house the ocean and all of his friends come to visit. There is not enough room for everyone in the house and soon the sun and moon are forced out of their house and up in the sky, where they have been ever since.

Personal Reaction:
I have always found folktales to be very interesting and intriguing. I like this book because it tells children of a folktale from a culture probably much different than their own. It causes them to use their imagination to view the sun, moon, and ocean as actual beings.

Classroom Extension Ideas:
1. Send a paper home with children asking parents if there are any folktales from their culture that they would like to come share with the class.
2. Have students get into small groups and use their imagination to write their very own folktale of how the sun and moon came to live in the sky.
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(61 ratings; 3.7)
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