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The Cloud Spinner by Michael Catchpool

Image from

Image from

Catchpool, M., & Jay, A. (ill.). (2012). The Cloud Spinner. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN: 9780375870118

Annotation: A young boy has the ability to spin the clouds into beautiful cloth, only ever using as much as he needs. When a greedy king sees the cloth, he demands that the boy make clothes for him, with disastrous results.

Reaction: I was drawn to this book because of the spinning. I love the idea of creating your own yarn through the simple act of twisting it together, despite the fact that I’m terrible at practicing it. So I love to see spinning and knitting and other fiber arts represented in children’s books.

This is a sweet, quiet fairy tale featuring the traditionally foolish king and wise, hardworking peasant. The art is beautiful, and the crackle varnish adds age and gravitas to the illustrations. I love the shapes Jay draws in the clouds and the faces she gives to the houses, hillsides, clouds, sun and moon. These details add a touch of whimsy to the art.

This story isn’t action packed or funny, but it would appeal to lovers of fairy tales and fiber arts.

Materials used: Alkyd paint & crackle varnish on thick cartridge paper

Illustrator’s website