Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
It's hardly a new theme: by accident (literally), a child finds himself in a new world-in this case, a land in the clouds, populated by playful cloud children-where each day offers yet another fantastic experience; eventually, however, the child yearns for the familiarity of home and family, and enlists his new friends in helping him return. In the hands of the incomparable Burningham (Hey! Get Off Our Train; Aldo), this familiar story takes on new depth and poignancy while never losing the giddy appeal of adventure. The lean, trenchant text approximates the simple forcefulness of childhood speech. But the book's real power lies in the stop-them-in-their-tracks illustrations. Cut-outs of Burningham's signature line-drawn figures are set against backgrounds that are photographic, painted or a combination of the two; the resulting compositions feel at once both ethereal and cozily handmade. This is a stunning book-whether the reader takes Cloudland at its considerable face value, or is able to ponder its underlying meanings of death, afterlife and rebirth. It promises to resonate with readers of all ages. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal Review
PreS-Gr 4After a day of mountain climbing high above the clouds, Albert and his parents head for home. Suddenly, the boy trips and falls off a cliff. His parents weep, but someone else is watching out for him. With a few magic words, a group of "cloud children" help the youngster float safely to Cloudland. Albert happily joins in their daily games, but soon begins to miss his parents and seeks the help of the Cloud Queen. Following a grand farewell party with the Man in the Moon, and a few more magic words (recited backwards, of course), the boy finds himself safely back in his own bed. Children will delight in this fantasy, while being reassured by Albert's return home. Burningham's signature-style figures lighten his mixed-media illustrations, which combine painted photographs and drawings. His characters float and frolic within skyscapes that alternate between light and spacious and dark and forbidding. Occasional wordless double-page spreads poignantly advance the story. A good choice for story time and independent reading.Paula A. Kiely, Milwaukee Public Library, WI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Ages 4-6. As he has done before, Burningham explores a common childhood fantasy in an impressively illustrated picture book. Hiking in the mountains with his parents, Albert trips and falls off a cliff. Luckily for Albert, he is caught by the cloud children, who teach him to jump, make music, swim, paint, and race in the sky. But after a while, Albert grows homesick. So the Queen throws him a party and then sends him back to his parents. The fantasy is overextended and not as coherent as it could be. However, kids will enjoy the playfulness of the beguiling writing and the wonderful collage-like pictures, which feature Burningham's trademark wash-and-line drawings and use all manner of sky scenes as backdrops. The composition showing a photo of a jet streaking by the cloud-stuck Albert is likely to be a favorite. Team this Book-of-the-Month Club selection with Carle's Little Cloud [Ap 1 96] for an imaginative look at life in the sky. (Reviewed December 15, 1996)0517709287Julie Corsaro
Horn Book Review
When Albert falls off a mountain, he is rescued by and lives with the children who live in the clouds. Eventually, the Queen of Cloudland helps him go home. Burningham's collage illustrations use actual color photographs of clouds that have been painted, airbrushed, and scratched to help illustrate the unusual story, allowing the fanciful parts of the story to seem more real than the earthbound portions. From HORN BOOK 1996, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
A typical Burningham dreamer falls from the land of childhood into Cloudland; when he returns home he forever after longs for another taste of the land beyond. When Albert freefalls off a cliff while hiking with his parents, he's rescued by cloud children who see him falling and utter one of several delightfully nonsensical incantations. In a twist on the angels-bowling-in-heaven explanation for natural wonders, the cloud children play jumping games, make as much noise as they can when it thunders, dance with lightning, and paint with rainbows as inspiration. Burningham's characteristically breezy pen-and-ink illustrations are airborne here. Loosely sketched, cut-out figures of children are superimposed against actual full-color photographs of magnificent cloudscapes, sky scenes, and sunsets, ingeniously--and appropriately--juxtaposing realism with imagination. A matter-of- fact tone and economy of words, in combination with whimsical illustrations, create a buoyant, high-flying fantasy greater than the sum of its parts. Winsomely sure-footed. (Book-of-the-Month Club) (Picture book. 4-8)