Kirkus Reviews QR Code
LITTLE CLOUD by Johanna  Wagstaffe

LITTLE CLOUD

The Science of a Hurricane

by Johanna Wagstaffe ; illustrated by Julie McLaughlin

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: Feb. 18th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-4598-2184-2
Publisher: Orca

An on-air meteorologist chronicles the development of a hurricane for very young readers and listeners.

In her simple primary narrative, Wagstaffe tells the story of the development of a small, anthropomorphic cloud. Formed from evaporation and condensation off the west coast of Africa, it grows into a tropical disturbance, then a depression, and finally a hurricane with a proper name, Nate. A second, smaller block of text labeled “Weather Fact” on each page or spread provides further facts about hurricanes, typhoons, and cyclones. The cheery, digitally collaged illustrations add even more information, including names of cloud formations; parts of the water cycle; and both the stages and the anatomy of hurricanes. As Nate’s journey continues, he (having gained a gender with the name) travels across the ocean and nears land, where people make preparations. Luckily, he’s slowed before making landfall, and his winds have weakened. He shrinks to a serious rainstorm and finally a small cloud again. Illogically, and contrary to geographical facts, “he realized he would roll over the tall mountains along the coast before he made landfall.” A final spread includes more hurricane facts, including the potential effects of global climate change. Canadian scientist Wagstaffe is accurately shown as a blonde white woman reporting the storm on TV; other humans in the illustrations are racially diverse.

Probably clear enough for early weather watchers. (author’s note) (Informational picture book. 6-8)