Cloudette caught my eye the second I saw it resting on a shelf at the bookstore. There was something about it, how pleasant the cover was to look at, how charming it was, that begged that it be picked up and read-and I wasn’t disappointed. Author Tom Lichtenheld has brainstormed a wonderful idea for a story and, with original illustration, plenty of humor, and a sweet moral, brought it completely to life in the adorable form of Cloudette.
What’s Cloudette About?
We meet Cloudette, a small-very very small- cumulus cloud. She is a delightful little protagonist who floats about day to day, not minding that she is so tiny. Everyone has nicknames for her, she can even sneak into tight spaces that other clouds can’t, and she’s great at hide and seek (of course.) But one day as the other clouds race off to cause big important rainstorms, Cloudette begins to question her size. She begins to feel left out. How does a little cloud do her part? Everyone needs a purpose, needs to do something meaningful to them, and Cloudette ends up on an unexpected journey to figure out just how important she can be despite her diminutive size.
What Are The Illustrations Like?
The illustrations are done in ink, pastel, colored pencil, and watercolor, and suit the story and the character of Cloudette quite well. The cover is simply lovely, and the pages following are as well. The portrayal of the clouds and their world is, to put it bluntly, pretty darn cute. The simplicity of Cloudette was particularly wonderful, especially her little facial expressions. It doesn’t seem like it would be that hard to portray a cloud as ‘cute’ but how Tom Lichtenheld managed to depict one that was so absolutely adorable is beyond me.
What’s Different About It?
There is plenty of humor throughout the story, mostly in the form of tiny speech bubbles from little characters. This adds a nice layer to the story separate from the original text. It does also make it difficult to read to a group, but it’s great one on one.
This book also takes its theme of clouds and size to the maximum level, with plenty of ironic humorous lines throughout it, packed together more tightly than your average children’s book. But perhaps my favorite things about what makes Cloudette unique is the fact that it wasn’t illustrated with just regular watercolor, the water part of the watercolor was collected in a bucket during a rainstorm, therefore the book is “partially made of clouds.”
What Is Its Message?
The message is essentially that one person, even if they are small, can make a big difference. Perhaps it is because myself am relatively (ok extremely) short in stature that I found myself relating closely to this message at the end of Cloudette…but even if you are not, I think we can all relate to the moral of this story. At some point we can probably all remember a time when we felt we weren’t important enough, or felt incapable of doing something useful. It is because this is such a common human experience that this book is so great to share with children. Inevitably at some point they will face a situation where they feel left out, and it is important to let them know that no matter who they are, they each have something important to bring into this world.
Cloudette Review: What Did We Think of It?
I know they say don’t judge a book by its cover, but I couldn’t help it when I saw Cloudette, and I think I judged correctly. It’s a wonderful little story with a great message that everyone, young or old, can either learn, or be reminded of. If everyone were to think they couldn’t make a huge impact just because they were one person, where would we be now? No, it is important to remember that to you it may be just one act, once choice, but for the chosen it can be the whole world.