Adjusting to change

The Boy Who Painted the Sun, written by Jill Morris and illustrated by Geoff Hocking. New York: Viking Penguin Children's Books. 32 pp. $3.95. Mom takes a job in the city. Sis leaves for college. Or the family moves to a new town. Changes like these signal a big switch in family routine -- sometimes ushering in the blues for the family's youngest member.

The subject of life-style upset is dealt with in this delightful picture book designed for three- to eight-year-olds. Just released in paperback, it's splashed with colorful pictures throughout.

The story opens with a young boy reveling in the joys of his farm home, where chickens flutter in the golden hay and the sun always shines. Crisis: The family moves to a factory town, where unhappy workers plod down the street and the sun never shines.

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In protest, the boy hides in his bed, closing his eyes to his new world. But eventually he makes his peace with the new surroundings, thanks to a box of paints.

The underlying beauty of this fanciful story will probably escape the younger set, but parents who read along will grasp it gratefully. And the message is: Most kids are resilient and can cope with change.

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