When Albert falls off a mountain top he's rescued by the Cloud Children, who are as light and airy as feathers and play amongst the rainbows and storm clouds up in the sky. But soon Albert feels homesick and begins to wonder. . . how will he get home?
John Burningham studied illustration and graphic design at the Central School of Art, graduating with distinction in 1959. Many illustration commissions followed including iconic posters for London Transport, before the publication of Borka: the Adventures of a Goose with No Feathers, John's first book for children (Cape, 1963) which won the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal for illustration and heralded the beginning of an extraordinary career. John Burningham has since written and illustrated over thirty picture books, that have been translated and distributed all over the world. These feature his classic and much loved children's books including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, by Ian Fleming (Jonathan Cape, 1964); Mr Gumpy's Outing (Jonathan Cape, 1970) also awarded the Kate Greenaway Medal; Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne (Jonathan Cape, 1972); The Shopping Basket (Random House, 1980); The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (Penguin/Puffin, 1983); Granpa (Jonathan Cape, 1984) later made into an animated film and Oi! Get off our Train (Jonathan Cape, 1989) and various books for adults England (Jonathan Cape, 1992); France (Jonathan Cape, 1998); The Time of Your Life (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2002) and When We Were Young (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2004). John is married to the illustrator, Helen Oxenbury. They have three children, three grandchildren and a dog named Miles. They live in London.
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.)
"Glorious, stirring pictures." -- Amanda Craig * The Times *
PreS-Gr 4‘After 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