The Cloud Spinner by Michael Catchpool and Illustrated by Alison Jay.
The Cloud Spinner was nominated for a Cybils this year. This is yet another book that makes me happy to see nominated. It is also a Kirkus Starred Review. We’ve read it and read it and then read it some more. It is one of those wonderful books that makes you happy while at the same time making you think.
This book is about a boy who learns how to weave clouds into clothing. He makes two scarves. One scarf to keep him warm when it is cold and other to wear over his head to protect him from the sun when it is hot. His mother has taught him a song that he sings while he weaves: “Enough is enough and not one stitch more.” The boy lives simply and lives by his mother’s advice.
One day the king comes into town and notices the boy’s scarf. He asks the boy where he got it, and when the boy told him that he made it, the king then orders the boy to make one for him. The boy tell the king that it is not wise for him to have a scarf because he doesn’t need it. The king is less than thrilled with the boy’s response and proceeds to order the boy to make a scarf for him. The boy complies and makes the scarf. The king is thrilled with the scarf and orders the boy to make more clothing for him, his wife, and his daughter. Because the boy is using clouds to make their clothes there are fewer and fewer clouds in the sky. Finally there are no more clouds in the sky which results in a drought. People come to the king asking for help for their animals and their crops but the king shouts back at them that there is nothing that he can do.
The princess, however, is more aware of the situation. She asks the boy if it is too late to undo the damage. The boy replies that it is not and in the middle of the night the princess balls up all of the clothing made from the clouds and returns them to the boy. The next morning there is rain. The king cannot find his new clothing, but seems too distracted/relieved by the rain that he doesn’t press the matter further. The story ends with the princess standing in the rain underneath a rainbow singing, “Enough is enough and not one stitch more.”
I did mitigate the king’s dialogue a bit while reading it to my son. While this is unnecessary for older children, for such a young child, I made the king sound less demanding and rude. The king still ordered the boy to spin the clouds, but in my version the king was still able to muster some “pleases” and some “thank yous.”
I created a little tune to sing the “Enough is enough and not one stitch more.” I caught my son singing it the other day. Hearing him sing this made me very happy. I am impressed that it is a book about conserving and being mindful of our resources without being preachy. I hope it sinks into all of us and promotes us to be more aware of how we spend our resources.
The book is beautifully illustrated with a unique style. This book is overall very well done and I’ve really enjoyed reading it to my son.
Where Obtained: Library.
FTC Disclosures: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” If you click on the link and purchase the book, I will receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”