Guest Review – The Cloud Artist

Marit, Sherri. The Cloud Artist. Roadrunner Press, 2017. 978-1937054748. 36 pp. $17.95. Gr. K-2.

Calling upon the ancient tradition of storytellers, the advance reading copy of The Cloud Artist begins with the words, “A long time ago…” as it sets the stage for a tale that incorporates a love of nature, Native American lore, and the wonder of a small girl who discovers she can paint pictures in the sky by waving her fingers at the clouds. Author Sherri Maret and illustrator Merisha Sequoia Clark brilliantly incorporate their Choctaw heritage into this multicultural, bilingual picture book that delivers a tale of magic in the style of the elders repeating the stories of their culture. From the historical timeline subtly portrayed in the illustrations, through the child’s encounter with difficulties and emotions that she must work out for herself, to the joy of seeing a lifetime of love in a multi-generational family, this story will enthrall and delight parents, grandparents, and children of all ages. The text is presented in both English and Choctaw, with a small graphic border dividing the two.

Elementary teachers and librarians will want to check the author’s website for ready-made follow-up activities to use with students, including free downloadable worksheets with illustrations from the book. The book and worksheets together would also make great emergency plans for a substitute teacher to utilize.  Highly Recommended for grades K-5″ —Joanne K. Hammond, Librarian, Chambersburg [PA] Area School District ©2017.

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