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The Cloud Spinner
     

The Cloud Spinner

4.0 2
by Michael Catchpool
 

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One small boy has a special gift—he can weave cloth from the clouds: gold in the early morning with the rising sun, white in the afternoon, and crimson in the evening. He spins just enough cloth for a warm scarf. But when the king sees the boy's magnificent cloth, he demands cloaks and gowns galore. "It would not be wise," the boy protests. "Your majesty does not

Overview

One small boy has a special gift—he can weave cloth from the clouds: gold in the early morning with the rising sun, white in the afternoon, and crimson in the evening. He spins just enough cloth for a warm scarf. But when the king sees the boy's magnificent cloth, he demands cloaks and gowns galore. "It would not be wise," the boy protests. "Your majesty does not need them!" But spin he must—and soon the world around him begins to change.

From author Michael Catchpool and illustrator Alison Jay comes a magical tale about the beauty and fragility of our natural world, and the wisdom and courage needed to protect it.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Who wouldn’t want a scarf “soft as a mouse’s touch and warm as roasted chestnuts”? That’s just the type of special garment crafted by the titular cloud spinner, a boy who transforms clouds into elegant threads in Catchpool’s ecological fable. When a greedy king spies the cloud spinner’s wonderful crimson and gold scarf, he orders the boy to fashion him an extra-long scarf—and cloaks and dresses for the queen and princess. Though the boy insists such abundance is not needed, recalling his mother’s philosophy, “Enough is enough and not one stitch more,” he complies. As a result, the entire kingdom learns what it means to lose such a valuable resource as the clouds, until the quiet and observant princess comes to the rescue. Jay’s now-signature paintings of exaggerated figures awash in a cracked varnish lend a timeless air of fantasy and whimsy to this original tale. Her hillsides appear to have faces (with sheep forming the eyes and mouths), and the clouds—which resemble various objects and animals—provide seek-and-find opportunities for readers. Ages 5–8. Illustrator’s agent: The Organisation. (Mar.)
From the Publisher

Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2012:
“There are definitely lessons about taking only what you need, about care for the needs of others and about listening to what is unsaid, but they are fully inside the story and only add to the pleasure.”

Children's Literature - Carrie Hane Hung
A young boy spins clouds to weave into cloth in colors of morning gold, afternoon white, and evening crimson. He makes only two scarves for himself; one scarf to protect his head from the heat and another one to wrap around his neck to keep him warm. His mother taught him to weave not one stitch more than what is required. One day, the king eyes the boy's magnificent scarf and demands that a longer scarf be made for him. After receiving the scarf, the king demands several more items for his royal family. Although the boy warns the king that the royal family does not need the cloud-spun clothing, the king orders the boy to complete the task. As a result, the clouds disappear from the sky and there is a drought. The princess figures out a solution to save the land. In the illustrations, children will enjoy discovering the various figures formed by the clouds in the story along with the images of faces on the hills and buildings. The pictures have a crackled effect that ages the pictures. The theme of the story provides a springboard for further discussion with children. Reviewer: Carrie Hane Hung
School Library Journal
Gr 1–5—In a faraway land, a boy exhibits a most unusual talent: he can spin clouds into marvelously glimmering cloth. The king discovers and covets his skill and demands sartorial wonders for the entire royal family. The cloud spinner knows that this is not the proper use for the yarn, but who can refuse the barked orders of a king? Sure enough, the clouds run out, the rain ceases, and Earth suffers as a result. Whereas Lynd Ward and Virginia Lee Burton anthropomorphized lighthouses and steam shovels to give children an opportunity to connect with their social and technological milieus, Jay makes the environment come alive—each hill has a soft, friendly face. When the clouds are used up, one by one, the hills turn brown and their smiles turn down. Even the youngest child will empathize with the pain the planet feels. Nearly all of the illustrations are land-swept views and resemble illuminated manuscripts in their use of cobalt, aquamarine, and golden hues. The soft edges look handcrafted due to the thick paper, and they have a warm, centuries-old look due to Jay's unique style using cracked varnish and alkyd paint. This timely tale focuses not on recycling, or repurposing, but on reducing. We need more stories like this one to make the Earth come alive for small children to behold and love.—Sara Lissa Paulson, American Sign Language and English Lower School PS 347, New York City
Kirkus Reviews
A boy with a singular talent catches the eye of the king, with ominous results, but it turns out well. In rhythmic text that holds an occasional rhyme, the story unfolds. The boy weaves wondrous cloth from the clouds: gold in the morning, white in the afternoon, crimson at sunset, "[j]ust as his mother had taught him." His mother also taught him to be sparing, so he uses just enough to weave a white scarf to protect his head from the heat of the day, and a gold and crimson one to keep him warm in the cold. The king, recognizing the beauty of the scarves, demands the boy weave a scarf for him. The boy boldly says the king does not need this, but the king insists. When he gets the scarf, he wants a cloak and dresses for his wife and daughter besides. The boy sadly complies, but then there are no more clouds, hence no rain, and the kingdom suffers. The young princess, however, returns the weaving to the boy, who releases the yarn and restores the clouds. Much happens in Jay's luminous, crackle-finish pictures. Almost every cloud adopts a shape, from hats to fishes and strange creatures. The hills and the houses have gentle or surprised faces made of flowers and wildlife or windows and doors, so subtle one only notices them on the second or third reading. Her figures have roly-poly bodies and tiny heads, her colors simply glow. There are definitely lessons about taking only what you need, about care for the needs of others and about listening to what is unsaid, but they are fully inside the story and only add to the pleasure. (Picture book. 5-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780449810675
Publisher:
RH Childrens Books
Publication date:
03/28/2012
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
11 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2012:
“There are definitely lessons about taking only what you need, about care for the needs of others and about listening to what is unsaid, but they are fully inside the story and only add to the pleasure.”

Meet the Author

MICHAEL CATCHPOOL holds a degree in Drama, Television, and Theater Studies. He is the author of a number of picture books and is currently a headteacher in a large primary school in Cambridgeshire, England. He is married with two children.

ALISON JAY is a graduate of the London College of Printing and is the acclaimed illustrator of many picture books. Her signature style is created using alkyd paint on thick cartridge paper, with a crackle varnish, giving an aged effect.

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The Cloud Spinner 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Storywraps More than 1 year ago
I loved this book.  The illustrations are very vintage and the colour pallet perfect for a story with a fairytale flavour.  A little boy, with a special gift, can weave clouds ... the morning colours of gold, the mid-day colours of white and the evening colours of crimson into a magical cloth.  His mom taught him to be frugal and only use what he needs and not one titch more.  The little boy obeys and creates a hat and a scarf made of the softest material to shelter him from the elements.   The king comes through his village one day and spots the little boy's scarf.  He is smitten with the quality and uniqueness of the cloth and orders the little boy to make him a similar one but much bigger and longer because after all, he was the king.  The little boy warns the king of being excessive and demanding more than he should. "It would not be wise, the boy protests." "Your majesty does not need them."  But the king will have none of it and orders the little peasant to do his bidding.   The king adores his new apparel and then demands the boy make a dress for his queen and one for his daughter.  Reluctantly and sadly the little boy obeys knowing the consequences will be devastating to his village.   Such greed and selfishness on the monarch's part causes the clouds to disappear from the sky and a huge drought overshadows the land making the commoners unable to grow their food or get any water at all .  Two children (one being the little boy himself),  takes it upon themselves to step up and find a solution to this huge problem plaguing the kingdom and the solution is just in time,  bringing order and peace back into their world.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago