The 'Poo Book' Blog Reviews Cloud Conductor for Books On Tour
Tuesday 29 May, the 'Poo Book' Blog is delighted to introduce Kellie Byrnes and Cloud Conductor as a part of her Books On Tour promotion.
The Book: Cloud Conductor (picture book)
Author: Kellie Byrnes
Illustrator: Ann-Marie Finn
Published: May 2018 by Wombat Books
Available to purchase at: All good bookstores and online at www.wombatbooks.com
Hardback RRP: AU$24.99
For more information on blog tours at Books On Tour please visit www.justkidslit.com/books-on-tour.
The Intro: Welcome to the second stop on the Cloud Conductor #BlogDash for Books on Tour. The ‘Poo Book Blog' is delighted to review this very special picture book, the debut publication for Author and Freelance Writer, Kellie Byrnes.
About the Author: Kellie Byrnes is an exciting new talent in the Australian children’s book landscape. Cloud Conductor is her debut picture book, with another title on the way (Yes! No) in 2019. Byrnes can often be found daydreaming about books, whether penning her next manuscript, or reviewing for the JustKidLit blog. She immerses herself in creativity, whether it be via movies, plays and musicals, or travelling as widely as possible. One to watch!
About the Book: Cloud Conductor took me right back to that magical time in my childhood, when I used to lay on my trampoline, seemingly for hours, gazing at the clouds. I imagined all kinds of shapes and figures in the ever-moving, white, billowy masses. I think the author’s mission was accomplished right then and there. This poignant picture book aims to encourage its readers to be cloud conductors, or purveyors of the imagination, and it achieves this in spades. It relies for its resonance, on the universal premise that we can all make out images in the clouds, whether or not we choose to indulge in this pastime.
Cloud Conductor tells the story of Frankie, a little girl whose active life is affected by an illness, from which she spends most of the book convalescing. The narrative takes us through the seasons of Frankie’s recovery, and her determination not to succumb to melancholy. Like many children searching for escapism, she turns to the world of her imagination. The clouds are the conduit by which she soars and roars through the brightest and darkest of her days. Her interminable spirit provides a gift to her fellow patients - other sick children who can escape their reality, even if just for a little while, by gazing at the clouds.
The sombre palette of the cover bodes a sensitive, or even sad story within, but the reader is soon taken through the full colour spectrum by versatile illustrator Ann-Marie Finn (of Lulu and Eric Finds A Way-fame). Finn conveys the beauty and power of cloudy skies, throughout the seasons. Byrnes’ simple, yet beautifully-crafted text, combines perfectly with Finn’s mixed-media artistic techniques, to contrast the often-confined world of Frankie’s reality, with the boundless world of her adventures in the clouds. Favourite illustrations for me, included the etching of the powerful lion ROARING in the clouds, and the photo realism within the hand-drawing of ‘cloud children’ playing at the beach.
Recommended For: As we read together, my five-year-old (with his own ‘wandering mind’), was both captivated by Frankie’s big imaginings, yet also drawn into the sadness of her real-world experience. My comprehension test for him was, What’s happening with the girl in the story? He replied, She’s sick. This, combined with the fact he kept still and didn’t wriggle once during the reading, indicates to me that the book passes the test for its intended audience. It also aces the impress-the-adult-reader test, with its sensitive themes and clever demonstration of creativity.
Cloud Conductor is recommended for ages 5 to 8, and though we try to avoid talking about gender, I felt this was a book that would appeal equally to boys and girl. It taps into that part of EVERYONE’s psyche, that is fascinated with the clouds. Who doesn't love the idea that we can escape our troubles, if we only just yield to the world of our imagination? This is a perfect book for reading to early primary age, yet also pitched wonderfully to children who enjoy the pleasure of reading picture books to themselves. I can only imagine the comfort a book like this would provide, to a child experiencing illness, or perhaps bullying. If we refuse to stop dreaming, we can find the inner strength to overcome almost anything.
Cloud Conductor Tour Dates: Mon 28th - Fri 1st of June