"Clouds were a bit out of fashion these days, but not to Lizzy," a light-skinned child with a halo of frizzy curls who wears sunshine yellow boots. On a Saturday outing to the park, she runs to the umbrella-hatted Cloud Seller, who holds a fistful of strings attached to elaborate animal-shaped pet clouds that softly rain on him. Though there are options like a bubble-blowing elephant and a swimming goldfish, Lizzy selects a misty-gray "ordinary cloud" she names Milo. She follows her cloud care instruction manual to the letter, taking Milo on outings and smiling beatifically as she waters him from atop a stepstool. Milo reciprocates by raining on her rare houseplants as a soft rainbow glows beneath him. The cloud grows bigger and bigger under Lizzy's devoted care until he has a thunderstorm "tantrum" indoors. Lizzy remembers that her manual says not to keep a cloud in a confined space and releases Milo into the open sky. Terry Fan and Eric Fan leave readers with a wistful image of Lizzy some time later, waving out her window at a passing cloud "just in case."
Storm clouds gloom, zeppelins sail the skies and raindrops burst against saucepan rims in serene ink-and-digital illustrations colored with an ethereal palette of soft grays and pastels. This subtle, whimsical reflection on the caretaker relationship provides many openings for discussing growth and letting go. --Jaclyn Fulwood, youth experience manager, Dayton Metro Library