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*The Cloud Spinner* by Michael Catchpool, illustrated by Alison Jay
Also illustrated by Alison Jay:

The Emperor's New Clothes
The Cloud Spinner
by Michael Catchpool, illustrated by Alison Jay
Ages 4+ 32 pages Knopf March 2012 Hardcover    

The Cloud Spinner is a beautifully illustrated book about taking only what you need from the Earth.

A boy sits atop a hill overlooking a lush landscape and weaves cloth from the clouds. As he works, he sings, “Enough is enough and not one stitch more.” He knits two scarves, one to keep his head cool in summer, and one to keep his neck warm on cold days.

One day at the market, the King sees the boy’s scarf and demands that he makes him the same scarf, only much longer. Though the boy advises against it, the King insists and the boy weaves a scarf for the King. The King then, once again against the boy’s advice, demands that the boy weave a cloak for him as well as dresses for the Queen and the Princess.

Time passes, and one day the villagers go to the King and tell him that the crops are dying and the animals are thirsty. In the background, the landscape is no longer lush but brown and dry, and the skies are cloudless. The Princess and the boy come up with a creative and Earth-friendly resolution to the problem.

This is a thought-provoking story with a message about taking care of the environment, deftly conveyed to appeal to children of many ages and spark conversation about self-restraint, greed and enough.

In addition to a pertinent message, this delightful picture book has enchanting illustrations. The subtle colors set against a crackling effect lend a vintage, classic look to the illustrations. The layout varies from page to page, from single to double-page format, from horizontal frames to vertical or circular frames, producing an eye-catching and dynamic visual with every page turn.

Highly recommended for ages four years and up. Five stars.

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  Maya Fleischmann/2012 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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