cover image Cloud Babies

Cloud Babies

Eoin Colfer, illus. by Chris Judge. Candlewick, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5362-3107-6

Young Erin has always seen animals in the clouds: “a dragon who had run out of puff, a fox who was late for school, and a polar bear who was making snowballs,” writes Colfer (the Artemis Fowl series), describing fancifully rendered clouds echoed in economic cartoon lines by Judge (the Beast series). When Erin experiences an extended stay at a local children’s hospital, the Cloud Babies, as they are known, bring comfort to her and her parents (“To be together, all they had to do was look up”) as well as to her tight-knit fellow patients. But when Erin finally returns to school, anticipating only occasional “hospital days,” she feels likes she’s “floating somewhere in between” two worlds. At school, clouds are studied for science, and it feels important to leave perceived “little kid” stuff behind—including cloud babies. A bright idea from her parents and teacher help Erin realize she can keep the figures in her world and use them to brighten the lives of others, too. As cheery on-the-ground scenes lean into home, hospital, and school backgrounds, Colfer’s lengthy, play-by-play text brims with empathy, affirming that imagination can be powerful medicine. Erin’s family reads as white; secondary characters are portrayed with varying skin tones. Ages 5–9. (Apr.)