cover image Little Cloud and Lady Wind

Little Cloud and Lady Wind

Toni Morrison, Slade Morrison, , illus. by Sean Qualls. . S&S/Wiseman, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-4169-8523-5

The Morrisons (Peeny Butter Fudge ) examine the problem of being part of a group while maintaining one's identity. Quietly rebellious Little Cloud will not join the other clouds, who want to “terrify the earth with storm and thunder.” She loves the earth and wants to live there. Lady Wind carries her through a storm and brings her to a valley spangled with dew, mist, and a rainbow, as Little Cloud learns she can be part of the earth without losing her cloudness. In Qualls's (Before John Was a Jazz Giant ) collages, Little Cloud has pensive expressions and puffy blue hair, while Lady Wind has the flowing hair and gown of a goddess. The homey, cut-and-paste nature of the pencil lines, cut-paper stars, and pale blue paint strokes forms a comfortable counterpoint to the mythic dimensions of the story. Despite some lyrical passages (“Little Cloud looked again and saw a necklace of many colors stretching from her place in the sky to the valley”), the text sometimes feels heavy-handed; the conclusion, in contrast to the story's espousal of freedom, seems preordained. Ages 4–8. (Jan.)