When Cloud Became a Cloud by Rob Hodgson (Rise X Penguin Workshop, 2021). With very short chapters and simple-to-read text, Hodgson’s masterpiece about the water cycle manages to teach as well as entertain. It reads like a simple story, and even the illustrations seem friendly and childlike. Yet in his sparse text and deceptively simple illustrations, Hodgson manages to show the personalities of the lake, water droplets, snowflakes, clouds, and everything else depicted as “alive.”
As with other books about the water cycle, water droplets gather to be a cloud, but before the drops fall as rain, Hodgson gives Wind and Sun a role; the cloud ends up dropping snowflakes because he is so cold. These, then evaporate and help Cloud become fog, before, once again, becoming heavy with moisture for a rainstorm and then a part of a giant thunderstorm.
I love how even this basic book contains so much detail, even explaining that the droplets (molecules, although that word is not used) bump together and cause lightning and subsequently THUNDER. Of course, the rain that has fallen begins to make up a new cloud in the end. The last chapter is titled “The End?” with a question to it, so the cycle is emphasized there.
So much is explained in this fun book. It does not feel like nonfiction: there is no end matter to further explain things, and the text is so readable. However, it is so packed full of information that it is shelved under JE (juvenile easy) nonfiction in my library. The blue sky scenes, the rainbow, and the cyclical story all make it a great picture book. And not just for the youngest readers. I love it!