I just got to see an advance copy of an absolutely charming new children’s book. It is CLOUD BOY by Rhode Montijo. Both the luminous artwork and the deceptively simple concept of this book are appealing and part of that appeal lies in how well the art and concept work together. It is illustrated in flat sky blue and shades of glowing white, and features some beautifully rendered pencil illustrations of the titular character as he floats in his foamy world of clouds and watches the world below.
The theme of the book shows how we individuals can reach out to those around us through our powers of creativity. This may seem like a simple concept, and yet it gently touches on both the joy and the sadness of being an individual, of being human. It was a very powerful turning point in my own childhood when I realized that I could make connections to the people around me through my drawings. It is no exaggeration to say that, as a child, it helped me form a sense of my own self-worth and, as an adult, it has been a major driving force in my life ever since.
This book manages to convey the joy of that experience in a manner that should be very inspiring to children, or any grown-ups who haven’t forgotten that period in their own growth. So, if you know any child who’s creative expression you’d like to inspire then I would highly recommend this book to you. It is published by Simon & Schuster and will be in stores in April 2006, but is available for pre-order on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble.