The Cloud Book by Tomie dePaola

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The world lost a legend when we lost Tomie dePaola recently. The Cloud Book that he wrote and illustrated (Holiday House, 1975). is a one-of-a-kind, semi-comprehensive volume about clouds for early elementary children. It is written in the second person, immediately drawing in a young child.

First, the book introduces clouds as drops of water and ice in the atmosphere, but only couched in the thought experiment of viewing clouds. It makes it entertaining for kids and draws them in. Then, nine different types of clouds are introduced in the text using (mostly) scientific names, and dePaola explains what each type of cloud means for upcoming weather. Some children would do well to skim over some of the more detailed pages, but most would probably be interested since the different descriptions also cover what the types mean for various kinds of weather.

dePaola discusses fog and specially nicknamed clouds (such as a “banner cloud” and a “boa cloud”), and then he explains traditional beliefs about clouds (some of them quite silly) and the traditional sayings about clouds. Of course, he mentions the fun shapes people find in clouds. Who hasn’t found shapes in the clouds? In traditional dePaola style, he then concludes with a very silly story about a cloud. The end even has a brief index on which pages teach about which clouds.

dePaola has a way with words that simply brings in a child. What a fun approach to learning about clouds! The Cloud Books has great details about clouds for the older kids but retains a sense of playfulness and delight that even the youngest would enjoy. Most kids will enjoy all the silliness mixed in with the serious details that truly instruct.

Reviewed on October 31, 2022

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

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