There are many things that Cloudette loves about being small: the adorable nicknames, the ability to fit into small spaces and the way she can really hide during a game of cloud hide and seek. But when it comes to helping out the big clouds during storms or doing important cloud jobs, Cloudette doesn’t feel needed. At all. It is only when Cloudette ends up all by herself after a particularly violent thunderstorm that she discovers “the big and important things a little cloud can do.”

Normally I can live without little life-lesson books about fitting in and finding your bliss, but Cloudette is just so darn cute and the story so droll that I had to give it another peek. Tom Lichtenheld’s watercolor and ink illustrations, especially the sweetly smiling Cloudette, draw the young reader right in, and the side chatter from the other clouds (“Hi, pipsqueak!” or “Prodigious precipitation, pipsqueak!”) will keep adults smiling.

In Cloudette’s struggle to produce rain, she grew larger and grayer and “shook her behind until it made a little rumbling sound”—an image that will amuse little readers and remind grownups of toddlers’ frequent frustrations. Little people who feel small and want to do important things will be inspired by Cloudette and will cheer when she finds her own pond-making mission. 

 

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