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Sun Moon Star
Written by Kurt Vonnegut
Illustrated by Ivan Chermayeff
Harper & Row, Publishers, 1980

Frank Platt suggested to Kurt Vonnegut and Ivan Chermayeff that they do a book together, with Chermayeff doing the illustrations first, and then Vonnegut writing a story to match them. Chermayeff created a series of simple shapes and bold colors -- some pages being nothing more than a bold swath of a single color -- and Vonnegut wrote a poem to accompany them.

"When the Creator of the Universe
came to Earth
when It resolved to be born
as a male human infant
in a stable
attached to a busy inn
It had never needed eyes before.
It had known all things and been all things.
The Creator had only to exist.
That was enough.
But now, as a human infant,
It was also going to see--
and to do so imperfectly,
through two human eyes,
each a rubbery little camera."

Most of Chermayeff's shapes were stars and crescents, and most of Vonnegut's thoughts were of Jesus, so we have 62 pages of baby Jesus/God interpreting the Nativity in terms of stars, supernovas, and eclipses. It is okay.

If you are familiar with Chermayeff's art, you will see him in this, but will be a bit disappointed. If you are familiar with Vonnegut's writings, you will see him in this, but will be a bit disappointed. If you are familiar with the story of the Nativity, you will see it in this, but will be a bit disappointed.

This is often said to be a children's picture book, and it could be; but it was not written for children, and I think the child would be a bit bored. This is a work based on a neat little idea and given to some artists who were game. It is a neat little book that fans of those artists may enjoy reading. There's not a lot more to say about it than that.

And life went on.


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