A traveling salesman tricks an island of innocent, ageless children into selling their most valuable possession for fun and games in this undoubtedly metaphorical tale.
When Gleesome Goodday—looking in the illustrations like an evil clown clad in a Hawaiian shirt—emerges from his rocket ship promising to make everyone’s sweetest dreams come true, Brimir, Hulda and the rest of the children happily exchange percentages of their “youth” for such benefits as the ability to fly and dirt-proof coatings of Teflon. In no time (literally, as Goodday also nails the sun into the sky), the children have abandoned their previously idyllic lives to learn about commerce, ownership, democratic politics and making bombs. It’s all a laugh riot until Brimir and Hulda discover that all the children and animals on the other side of their world are pining away in perpetual darkness and notice that they themselves and all their playmates have gone gray. No worries, though: by abruptly turning Goodday into a fool who is easily tricked into freeing the Sun and emptying his tanks of hoarded Youth, the Icelandic author engineers a facile happy ending.
A few scary incidents and the references to poop and nasty food that are evidently required in all European light fiction add bits of savor to an otherwise bland import with a cautionary message that is, at best, vague. (Fantasy. 10-12)