“What’s in a Cloud?” by William Palumbo

“What’s in a Cloud?” by William Palumbo 418 522 Reader Views Kids

What’s in a Cloud?

William Palumbo (author) Nate Myers (illustrator)
Independently Published (2023)
ISBN: 979-8392757725
Reviewed by the Barefoot Librarian www.barefootlibrarian.com for Reader Views Kids

What’s In a Cloud? features a diverse character, Aaliyah, who spends her time outdoors and allows her thoughts to run free. As she watches clouds “…rolling by,” like many of us, she finds the shape of one of the clouds reminds her of something, in this case, “…a superhero with a cape.” However, there is a twist—Aaliyah is more interested in what is inside of the clouds. Without the shape as a constraint, “…her young mind starts to play.” She dreams of cars and castles and other fun things. She finds her imagination is better than any toy—“For a toy is a toy, but the inside of a cloud is whatever she wants it to be.”

Seeing a diverse main character is always refreshing, giving the book a broader appeal. Also, the main character plays a violin, a welcome departure from the typical instruments children usually play.  The illustrations are playful yet simple, encouraging children to visualize their own creative images.

It is also a rhyming book, which is always fun for children as a read-aloud.  The author has done an excellent job selecting words where the rhyme is not forced. Rhythm also enhances the flow of a rhyming book. This could have been achieved by utilizing the established practice of maintaining consistent syllable counts in rhyming lines.

At the end of the book, children are given the opportunity to illustrate or write what is in their cloud. What an excellent way to encourage children to use their imagination. Today, children are bombarded with so many screens and high-tech toys. It seems that gone are the days when children played outdoors with few toys but their imagination.

What’s In a Cloud? is a simple, sweet, rhyming book that reminds us that every child needs to be given time to dream.

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