Book Title: The House of Clouds (available here)
Author: Lisa Thompson
Illustrator: Alice McKinley
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
Publication Date: Sept 2020
Reviewed By: Caroline Relf
Tabby is struggling to adapt to some changes at home. Her elderly grandfather has moved in and is taking up what used to be the dining room. Walking her grandfather’s smelly dog Buster has become her responsibility and their house doesn’t feel like hers any more. Tabby is embarrassed by Buster and has little patience for the dog or her grandfather. She is irritated when he tells her stories that she considers babyish and is bored by his fantastical tales.
When walking Buster one day, Tabby explores a strange seemingly empty house on the cliff top and discovers a mysterious-looking machine and a sign saying ‘The House of Clouds’. Her grandfather has an explanation but Tabby shrugs it off as nonsense.
When tragedy strikes, Tabby questions her own behaviour and begins to consider that maybe there was some truth in the stories her grandfather told. This is a story of grief, loss and regret. Tabby forms a new friendship and through doing so, learns a great deal about herself. It is also a story of the wonder to be found in the world around us and of discovering (or rediscovering) what is truly important.
Tabby learns a painful lesson about what you might miss if you aren’t looking. Her jealousy of friends and reliance on her phone are slowly replaced by an appreciation of simple pleasures. Tabby discovers she is guilty of taking things for granted and of being too busy to stop and look around her; something many adults are also guilty of.
The House of Clouds is a novella produced with dyslexia readers in mind. Barrington Stoke have been publishing books for dyslexic and/or reluctant for twenty years. They use dyslexia-friendly font, tinted paper and spacing that ‘stops the page from becoming overcrowded’. The House of Clouds is recommended for children with a reading age of eight.
Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to our Review Panel member for reviewing it.
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