By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: April 17, 2012
By Michael Catchpool; Illustrated by Alison Jay
The Cloud Spinner is, as its title suggests, about a boy who makes fine clothes spun from clouds “just as his mother had taught him.” When the greedy King learns of the boy’s talents he demands many outfits be made. Using repetitive and cautionary words, the boy explains over-and-over: “It would not be wise … Your Majesty does not need them.” The clouds eventually disappear and action must be taken. Alison Jay’s signature paintings with the crackle varnish lend themselves well to this clever and fantastical, “green” fairy tale told by Michael Catchpool—the crackling provides an aged feeling of wisdom, while her bright pallet and fanciful placement of animals add a level of freshness that draws young readers in easily. When it comes to delivering a message of conserving resources for our future, a story driven by a child protagonist is the perfect antidote—as gentle as a floating cloud overhead, Catchpool’s tale gives power to the young people!