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Sora and the Cloud

Publishers Weekly, 1/1/2012

Preschool to Grade 4

Sora and the Cloud

Sepia-tinted images set the tone for this warm and inviting bilingual fantasy from Hoshino (Little Sap and Monsieur Rodin). Sora is a preschooler who likes to climb; he finds his way up into a tree and from there onto a cloud, which sails away, offering him aerial views of a construction site, an amusement park, and a city. Close inspection of some of the curious details in the spreads—the construction workers are building with a child’s wooden blocks, the amusement park is populated with squirrels—signal that the journey is a dream. Its origins are found tucked away on the title page; the cloud is hanging on a mobile above Sora’s crib, the amusement park guests are modeled on the squirrel toy on the floor, and so on. Sora and the cloud sail over a clearly recognizable San Francisco before rain starts to fall and Sora dozes: "As grey clouds gather and raindrops tickle his face... Sora dreams of splashing in big puddles." A line-by-line Japanese translation (but no transliteration) allows parents of both cultures to offer read-alouds, while end notes define Japanese expressions and explain cultural elements. Ages 3–8. (Jan.)

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