Today's Fabulous Picture Book

Sector 7 cover Sector 7

illustrated by David Wiesner

A boy makes friends with a mischievous little cloud, who whisks him away to the Cloud Dispatch Center for Sector 7 where the clouds are bored with their everyday shapes.

On a class trip to the Empire State Building, a boy who likes to draw is approached by a friendly cloud who takes him to Sector 7 where clouds form according to blueprints drawn up by grumpy, unimaginative humans. It seems the clouds are itching for a makeover, and the boy, pencil and paper in hand, gives it to them. As with all wordless books, individual readers supply the "text";  interpretations of exactly what's going on may differ depending upon age, maturity, and experience.

The Caldecott Honor illustrations, ranging from full-page spreads to small vignettes, run the gamut from detailed, realistic renderings of places and human characters to pictures of fluffy clouds, at once diaphanous and substantial, complete with expressive faces, and fat, fascinating four-fingered hands.

Related activities

It Looks Like...

If you're lucky enough to be outside on a perfect cloud day, have everyone focus on the same cloud and ask for different ideas on what it looks like.  Create a list of all the different things people see.  Challenge the group to come up with as many different objects as possible.  Challenge individuals to come up with two different things for the same cloud.  (This also works if you are inside and have some good photographs of clouds that you can project through a Power Point presentation or show on a whiteboard.)

For practice in a different kind of creative thinking, have children select a photograph of an object (or cut out picture from a old magazine).  Then they should create a cloud that is roughly the same shape.  I would have them tear the edges rather than cut them to keep the shapes more cloud-like.  Then you can create a bulletin board or wall display that challenges people to match picture to cloud.  This could also be a learning station "game" where children match pictures and clouds.  For the latter, you can mount both cloud and picture on constructure (laminate for longer use), and use symbols or stickers on the back to allow children to self-check their work.


Featured art

Dozens of colorful hot-air balloon floating around the Eiffel Tower