cover image Ivy and the Lonely Raincloud

Ivy and the Lonely Raincloud

Katie Harnett. Flying Eye (Consortium, dist.), $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-911171-15-7

A small gray rain cloud that is searching for a friend follows a grumpy girl named Ivy back to her family’s flower shop—whose offerings, like Ivy’s mood, are drooping. Luckily, the rain cloud has just what the plants and flowers need; it waters them all, turning Ivy’s shop into a lush oasis and prodding her to smile at last. Harnett’s (Archie Snufflekins Oliver Valentine Cupcake Tiberius Cat) drawings of an old-world city—the kind with cobblestones, chimney pots, and open-air markets—give this story its charm. Ivy’s dress is bright yellow and her skin is brown, and the city’s inhabitants come in many colors and familial combinations as they ride the train, shop, promenade, and buy flowers. Harnett’s twee storytelling can be a bit off-putting (“The raincloud was sad because the horrible, hot sun had scared all of the other clouds away”), and it’s not clear whether tagging along after someone who is grumpy is the best way to make a friend. But city life hums with beauty and possibility in Harnett’s artwork, giving readers reasons to smile, too. Ages 3–7. (Aug.)