This is a story we’ve all heard before: A tiny, “weak” underdog (in this case, a cloud) wants to do something big and important, too. It’s been told countless times, in countless ways.
And in the hands of a lesser author, this could be a huge detriment to the book. No one wants a dry rehashing of age-old material, not even in children’s books.
But in the hands of Tom Lichtenheld (remember him?), this actually becomes a huge asset, instead. He takes a well-worn trope, and he makes it his own. He makes it fresh. He makes us want to hear this story again.
And again, and again.
Cloudette is cute as all hell, first of all. The art style is precious and used to great effect here, and Cloudette herself is just incredibly endearing. You can’t help but root for that little face.
And he really does make the trope his own, and every bit as adorable as Cloudette. There are a number of aw-inducing asides scattered throughout the book — for example, the fact that Cloudette’s small size makes it easy to always find a good spot to watch the fireworks, no matter how crowded it is. (And cute little nicknames are always a plus!)
Or Cloudette attempting to make friends with the puffs of smoke wafting out of a chimney, mistaking them for tiny clouds like herself.
Or the line, “This gave Cloudette an idea… (More like a brainstorm!)”
Or the fact that, apparently, clouds make thunder by shaking their behinds.
The more you know.