In Jessica Lasser’s new picture book, a small cloud feels out of place but finally discovers his own particular gift.
Stormy is happy to be a cloud, though he has none of the special talents his fellow clouds display. A show-and-tell session at which all the other young clouds show off their skills leaves Stormy in tears. But he later encounters several friendly passers-by who help to lift his spirits.
Hailey, a rainbow, assures Stormy that he will find his own special talent. Ryan, a skywriting plane, reminds him that developing one’s gifts takes time and practice. And Chloe, one of a flock of geese, tells him that, “We are all born with something that makes us unique. Sometimes we find it in ourselves, but sometimes it has to find us.”
As the weather grows colder, Stormy notices something new happening: it is snowing, and the snow is coming from him. As children, thrilled by the snow, cheer for him, Stormy happily takes his new name: Stormy the Snow Cloud.
This uplifting tale is an endearing take on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling that should entertain very young readers and listeners. (The plot may be too simple to keep school-age readers engaged.) In an author’s note, Lasser mentions that Stormy the Cloud originated as a bedtime story for her children, and the book maintains that warm, episodic feeling, making it perfect for reading aloud.
The tale’s lessons — that sometimes one has to look outside one’s peer group for support, that sometimes an inner strength appears when one least expects it — are valuable and conveyed well. Raphael De La Rosa’s cheerful, brightly colored illustrations give the characters great personality and should engage young readers.