Review of The Cloud

The illustrations in this picture book are superb. The story is simple – a little girl in art class is always by herself and never draws a picture. She also has a black cloud of scribbles over her head. Another child tries to make friends, but the little girl doesn’t respond. The second child comes up with the solution that they should draw a picture together, which they do, although the first little girl can draw nothing but black scribbles just like her black cloud. When the rest of the class become involved, they all draw a giant picture together, and the little girl’s black cloud finally disappears. The early pages are backed with grey, surely the colour of the little girl’s mood, and it is raining outside. By the end, the background colour has become yellow, and the sun is shining. The little chubby children are simply drawn, but there is lots of detail consisting of pencils and pens and pictures the children have painted. As a parable of the value of persistence and the need for friends, it could hardly be bettered. There are subtle references to the inter-racial nature of the class, and one child uses a walking frame. Ms Cumming is a talent to watch.

Books for Keeps. 1st March 2011

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