‘When the light changes through my bedroom window, it’s time.’ It’s time for the sun to appear on the horizon and the adventure to begin, for a little girl and her father.
This father/daughter duo steal out of a sleeping home to capture crabs for lunch, but it becomes so much more. Together they watch the sunrise and after sinking the crab pots, they settle with milky tea and biscuits for dunking. They see wonderful creatures in the everchanging clouds. It’s a dreamy world in the clouds and one of anticipation of the catch, in the sea. Home they go to share their haul with the rest of the family.
Award winning author, Samantha Tidy, speaking in the voice of the daughter, captures how cherished is this time alone with her father and the bond that they share, in their task and imagination. The tender rapport and sentence structure changes when they return home to share their meal. The intimacy abates, replaced with the short, simple text that verbalizes the joy of a family together, onomatopoeia being used, effectively to describe the noisy eating.
Susannnah Crispe’s illustrations complement the text while adding details that enhance the vision. Her watercolours capture the sky and sea skilfully, with radiating light and swirling water, depicting the time of day and the weather conditions. In the sea there are weeds and animals and if you look closely, the shadow of a whale and stingrays. There is a seaside feel inside the home with references to boats and seagulls. The people are obviously family. With the car’s number plate being STRA-TUS and the boat called Cirrus, the clouds in all their glory complete the elements of the story. The endpapers with the crabs going from uncooked blue in the front to cooked red at the back are symbolic of the story.
Created for 4 -6 years old, Cloudspotting is a delightful story about time spent with Dad and Nature. Engaging and educational, the reader sharing this story, while exploring experiences that are new and exciting for a young audience, may feel a sense of nostalgia for a simple time, and discuss similar activities.