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Sunrise, Sunset    by Sheldon Harnick & Ian Schoenherr order for
Sunrise, Sunset
by Sheldon Harnick
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2005 (2005)

Read an Excerpt

* *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

If the title of this picture book sounds familiar, that is because the book reprints Sheldon Harnick's lyrics to the beautiful and haunting song from Fiddler on the Roof, a Broadway and movie classic that takes place in turn-of-the-century Russia.

Tevye and his wife have five daughters, three of whom fall in love. At first, Tevye does not approve of his daughters' choices in mates, but ultimately he realizes that the world may change, but one thing never changes: children grow up. Sunrise, Sunset tells of the cycle of life. Tevye's eldest daughter marries a tailor, and they have children of their own. The song is not quite a lament, but it reflects the sentiment that watching your children grow up is simultaneously gratifying and heartbreaking, and that it happens in the blink of an eye: 'Seedlings turn overnight to sunflow'rs, Blossoming even as we gaze.'

The illustrations are startlingly accurate - the characters in the book are not identified, but anyone familiar with the movie will notice a strong resemblance to the actors. But more than that, the illustrations genuinely capture the heartwarming sentiment in the lyrics. Sheet music (the music is by Jerry Bock) is included at the back. Though the theme of the song is not really child-oriented, this book is a wonderful way to introduce children to the story behind the magical Fiddler on the Roof.

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