Willy and the Cloud by Anthony Browne
Review Copy from Candlewick Press
Story: Browne begins his eighth book about his thoughtful chimp, "It began on a warm, sunny day when Willy decided to go to the park." The one tiny cloud in the sky follows him to the park and sending him into a funk. Why was the cloud following him? What could he do? Willy tries again and again to get rid of the cloud. Finally, shouting up to the skies, something changes and the rain comes falling down, soft, cool and delicious. Willy decides to try the park again and has a fantastic time.
Pictures: With his painterly style and his affection for referencing classical works of art in his picture books, Browne has long been one of my favorite author/illustrators. In this book, the paper-cut collages of Henri Mattise and Mondrian's windowpane style show up on the sunbathing apes in the park. Browne also has repeating themes of his own in his books. Willy's patterned sweater vest and the pale floral couch are commonalities of all the Willy books that readers will appreciate seeing again.
Why Read? Why Buy?: Read and buy because Browne delivers exceptional value as an illustrator and author consistently with every book he creates. Browne's stories also bring a subtle expression of emotional experiences and challenges in his picture books that readers, young and old, can connect to authentically. While all his books are highly readable and engaging on surface level, I can't help - with pleasure - but read into each story. With Willy and the Cloud, reading into the story opens the way for a wonderful conversation about mindset and recasting. The one cloud in the sky ruins Willy's plans and his mood - until he decides not to let it. We are not our feelings, and we can change how we feel. As a lifelong learner and parent, this is an important concept that I always need reminding of.
Anthony Browne's Willy