The Cloud Spinner, written by Michael Catchpool and illustrated by Alison Jay, is one of those lyrical, stunning stories I discovered long after it was published and was surprised I hadn’t heard of prior. It’s a story that reminds us that greed can be extraordinarily harmful, beauty is fragile and we must listen to our world and trust our instincts– because if we don’t, life as we know it could be altered significantly, and not necessarily for the better.
In The Cloud Spinner, a young boy has an incredible talent- he is able to weave cloth from the clouds. He utilizes his gift only to make one scarf to protect his head and a second short scarf to wear around his neck to stay warm. But one day the king sees the child’s elegant scarf and demands the boy make him some clothes… cloaks and gowns and more and more and more despite the boy’s protests. As the boy begrudgingly obeys the king’s commands, fewer clouds grace the sky- until one day they are all gone. The clouds’ disappearance comes with a whole host of problems, and soon the delicate world is in tremendous danger.
The Cloud Spinner is absolutely gorgeous, a modern classic, imparting so much wisdom without ever being didactic. Allison Jay’s exquisite, cracked illustration style beautifully compliments prose that speaks to the fragility of the world around us. The Cloud Spinner reminds us that greed can befall even the best of us when we find something we love, and we must find ways to reign it in before it becomes our undoing. It shows even the littlest of kids how imperative it is to advocate for the protection of our resources and to find the courage to stand up for our beautiful earth when others seek to harm it. Most importantly, the book reminds us that needs and wants are two very different notions, and most of the time, enough truly is enough – getting more will simply not have the positive impact or affect we so desire. A marvelous book that will spark tremendous discussion opportunities with your kids and students. Two huge trunks up for this beauty!
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