Only the person who gave us Tuesday could have devised this fantastic tale, which begins with a school trip to the Empire State Building. There a boy makes fris with a mischievous little cloud, who whisks him away to the Cloud Dispatch Center for Sector 7 (the region that includes New York City). The clouds are bored with their everyday shapes, so the boy obligingly starts to sketch some new ones. . . . The wordless yet eloquent account of this unparalleled adventure is a funny, touching story about art, friship, and the weather, as well as a visual tour de force.
Finding shapes in the clouds is a grand pastime on a lazy day. But what makes those shapes anyway? and what if you had the power to alter them, to create new forms and details when amorphous arrangements are the norm? In a fittingly wordless book, this is exactly what happens to one young boy on a field trip to the top of the Empire State Building-where anything can happen, if movies are to be believed. This time, as the building is veiled in mist, a friendly cloud appears to the boy and after a few playful moments takes him on a tour of Sector 7, a factory-like satellite where clouds are shaped, classified, and distributed. The structure is like a Victorian railroad station with signs noting arrival and departure times, but tubes shaped like large funnels, not tracks, disperse the clouds to their assigned locations. The organization is hierarchical, regimented, and traditional. Perhaps that is why the playful cloud interjects a new element-a boy with imagination who can draw. And draw he does, fantastic shapes of sea life that confound the regular staff members who do not appreciate his artistry. Expelled for insubordina-tion, he is sent via cloud-carrier back to the Empire State Building just in time to rejoin his schoolmates for the return trip. But there is a different aura about him, and the clouds he inspired are amazing onlookers-much to the consternation of Sector 7! As with all wordless books, individual readers will supply the "text"; consequently, interpre-tations of exactly what's going on may differ depending upon age, sophistication, and experience. The illustrations, ranging from full-page spreads to small vignettes, are startlingly and powerfully conceived, the fanciful cloud-shapes both funny and elegant. Reminiscent of both William Pïne du Bois's Lion and Pat Cummings's C.L.O.U.D.S., the book nevertheless ascends to new heights. In fact, it definitely inspires a bit of sky-watching. m.m.b.