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.

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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