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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Book of Clouds (The)
by Juris Kronbergs
Age Range: 9-11
The Book of Clouds is an inspiring book of poetry about the world of clouds – every sort of cloud – even those that reference books don’t speak about. Readers are in for a real treat as Latvian poet Juris Kronbergs, born in Sweden to a family of Latvian artists, has created an innovative selection of poetry – a mix of funny and playful poems that combine scientific fact and the very many meanings of the word ‘cloud’.
The ‘Encylopedias’ poem explains the different clouds that adorns our sky, while the amusing illustrations on the preceding page show the variety of cloud shapes together with their name – veil clouds (Cirrostratus), feather cloud (Cirrus), lamb’s wool clouds (cirrocumulus), heap clouds (Cumulus) and thunderclouds (Cumulonimbus) to name a few. The poem ‘There are, of course, many more’ refers to other sorts of clouds – “there’s Car-clouds that drive cloudy Audis; City-clouds in high-rise blocks and farming clouds that harvest crops” There are also poems about ‘Cloud grammar’, ‘Your own little cloud’, ‘Clouds are gourmands’ and ‘Cloud dances’.
It’s no mean feat to translate poetry and Māra Rozīte and Richard O’Brien have done an excellent job in making these poems accessible in English to a whole new audience. This beautiful cloth-covered hardback is accompanied by the witty illustrations of Anete Melece which brings out the humour in the poems perfectly.
At the back of the book there are a series of ‘My Clouds’ blank pages for children to write and draw “where, when, what time did you see it? What type of cloud, what does it do? What does it eat? Any other characteristics.” There are also full page biographies on the poet, illustrator and translators and ‘Bonus Bits’ that includes learning some Latvian words and writing your own poem.