There are many things that Cloudette loves about being small: the adorable nicknames, the ability to fit into small spaces and the way she can really hide during a game of cloud hide and seek. But when it comes to helping out the big clouds during storms or doing important cloud jobs, Cloudette doesn’t feel needed. At all. It is only when Cloudette ends up all by herself after a particularly violent thunderstorm that she discovers “the big and important things a little cloud can do.”
Normally I can live without little life-lesson books about fitting in and finding your bliss, but Cloudette is just so darn cute and the story so droll that I had to give it another peek. Tom Lichtenfeld’s watercolor and ink illustrations, especially the sweetly smiling Cloudette, draw the young reader right in, and the side chatter from the other clouds (“Hi, pipsqueak!” or “Prodigious precipitation, pipsqueak!”) will keep adults smiling.
In Cloudette’s struggle to produce rain, she grew larger and grayer and “shook her behind until it made a little rumbling sound”—an image that will amuse little readers and remind grownups of toddlers’ frequent frustrations. Little people who feel small and want to do important things will be inspired by Cloudette and will cheer when she finds her own pond-making mission.
Copyright 2011 BookPage Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Fall
While Cloudette doesn't mind being small, she aspires to do something big-cloud important, like make a garden grow or a waterfall flow. When she comes across a desperate frog in a dried-out pond, she finally finds her inspiration--and lets loose. Invitingly unfussy mixed-media illustrations, heavy on the sky-blue, and thoughtful book design, including entertaining cloud-peanut-gallery comments, give flavor to Cloudette's journey. Copyright 2011 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2011 February #2
Lichtenheld takes a charming turn with the "tiny but mighty" theme. Cloudette usually enjoys being small—she can cavort with birds and kites, and hide between skyscrapers. But she's wistful when other clouds do big things, like create cold fronts and water crops. Her imagination yields lots of wishes, depicted in ink-and-watercolor spot illustrations. "[S]he thought nothing would be more fun than giving some kids a day off from school," accompanies a snowscape with banks billowing up to the windows of the school and buses clearly going nowhere. No one seems to need a little cloud, but when she's blown clear out of her neighborhood, she's welcomed by new friends—an eagle, a bear and fluffy cumuli. She spies a frog in a former pond, now just a puddle of cracked mud, and has a helpful "brainstorm." Lichtenheld's depictions of Cloudette puffing herself up for a fulsome downpour will delight children, and funny turns of phrase ("Even the higher-ups were impressed") will engage adults, too. The whimsy would nicely complement a preschool or primary weather unit. The author even uses rainwater for the watercolor pictures. ("Thank you, clouds," he writes in the media statement.) Sweet and sunny. (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 January #1
Lichtenheld, the illustrator of Shark vs. Train, turns in a quieter story about a small cloud and her search for a place to fit in (if the scenario recalls 2007's The Police Cloud, rest assured Cloudette stands on her own). It's not that she isn't popular with the larger clouds--"Everybody called her cute little names"--but that she wants to do things like "make a waterfall fall," things that are "big and important." And bigger clouds have a monopoly on creating storms, watering crops, and replenishing rivers. Sprinkled with punny jokes, Lichtenheld's polished spreads show Cloudette as a simple, scalloped-edged puff who looks mighty dejected as she tries to be useful. "Sorry, it's all done by machines," explains a man outside a marvelously retro car wash. Cloudette eventually finds a fine place to rain and gathers a raft of admiring comments. That Cloudette is neither bullied nor intimidated is an important point; she's the one who feels she has a special gift to give, and she solves her problem independently. Neatly constructed and nicely pitched, the message of self-reliance comes through as clear as a cloudless day. Ages 3-7. (Mar.)[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC
Gr 1-3--Reminiscent of the determination and courage of The Little Engine That Could, this title delivers its message with charm. A petite cloud believes that she is not big enough to accomplish what the big clouds can: provide enough rain to water crops or replenish a flowing waterfall or river. She is inspired by the accomplishments and "good-natured" acts of her larger kin and wants to have a positive effect on the Earth. She floats over a dried-up pond with one little frog hoping for enough rain to revive it. Can Cloudette move beyond what she believes are her limitations and do great things? Lively illustrations in ink, pastels, colored pencils, and watercolors create engaging spreads and characters that tell a story above and beyond the narrative. For example Cloudette's eyes and mouth grow tighter and her color changes from white to gray to black as she builds up enough steam to form that much-needed cloudburst. A few themes emerge for discussions in this multifaceted book, and there are plenty of details for children to discover. An excellent choice for a storytime or classroom. Well done.--Anne Beier, Clifton Public Library, NJ[Page 85]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.