BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations
Book Title: Cloud Boy (available here)
Author: Marcia Williams
Illustrator: Markus Motum (cover design)
Publication Date: April 2019
Most Suitable For: Years 5-6
Reviewed By: Carol Carter (@HPSLibrary), Librarian
Cloud Boy is a moving epistolary novel written in the form of the diary entries of Angie Moon, with occasional interjections from her neighbour, best friend and ‘almost twin’, Harry Christmas.
Angie thinks they may even get married one day (although Harry is not so sure). Angie is a budding artist and Harry a cloud collector; but they share a love of their joint treehouse, Artcloud. Tragically, Harry soon becomes seriously ill and the story follows the pair as they cycle through anger, frustration, denial, love, and acceptance.
Angie and Harry’s story is also skilfully woven together with letters written by Grandma Gertie during WWII, when she was imprisoned in Changi Jail, Singapore. These letters, and the quilt Angie and Gertie make for Harry, bring another dimension to the plot, which ultimately ends on an uplifting note about the power of friendship and memories.
Cloud Boy is written in the authentic voice of a tween-age girl, with realistic sudden leaps between deep emotional turmoil and the rhythms of everyday life. Cloud terminology is used beautifully as a recurring motif, and I loved the children’s use of ‘crepuscular ray!’ as a term of high delight. The relationship between the protagonists feels both engaging and genuine, and when the story reaches its inevitable sad conclusion, I must admit to shedding more than one tear.
Although a long-standing and well-respected author, Cloud Boy is Marcia William’s first novel, but, on this evidence, hopefully not her last. Cloud Boy will not be right for every child, but for those ready for a thoughtful but accessible meditation on life and death, it will linger long in the memory.
History: World War 2.
Geography: Weather & Climate.
PSHE: Friendship, bereavement (please note that one character dies – difficult emotions are explored and this topic could be sensitive for certain readers).
Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a copy of this book and to Carol for reviewing it.