Title: Willy and the Cloud
Author: Anthony Browne
Illustrator: Anthony Browne
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Children’s picture book
Book format: Paperback
Sweet Strawberries: Sweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet Strawberry

Description: One day Willy goes to the park. It’s a sunny day, but a cloud hovers over him and he can’t join in the fun. What can Willy do to make this mysterious cloud go away?

*Free copy provided (as part of the ‘Anthony Browne Collection’) by publisher for review…

Review:  This is a really clever story and one that is deeper than it first seems. Willy the Chimp decides to go out one day to the park, but a small cloud is following him. No matter how much he tries to outrun the cloud it’s always there, and it makes him sad.
The paperback I have is wider than A4 in size but shorter and is filled with thick glossy pages of some very good illustrations.

Willy and the Cloud book page image one
©The Strawberry Post

At first this story seems a simple one about Willy’s experience with a cloud. (SPOILER: The rest of this paragraph reveals the whole story) The more he tries to outrun the cloud and forget about it, the bigger it seems to get, until at last Willy gets angry at the cloud and it rains making Willy feel better, even happy.

Although this story can of course be taken in the literal sense of Willy dealing with the cloud in the sky, and this is how kids would first see this story, it is also a good book that adults can use to discuss feelings with children. Of course the cloud can be a cloud of dark emotions and the way Willy deals with it, and the outcome afterwards is something which can be talked about with kids, so those that might be prone to keeping their own feelings bottled inside can feel like they can express themselves.

The illustrations are great and just like the other Willy the Chimp books, although there seems to be a lack of the more surreal type pictures I’ve come to expect from Anthony Browne’s books. After reading quite a few of the books in the series I still find the dressed up gorillas slightly strange and funny but that’s just my own opinion and nothing against the book itself. The pictures are clever in the way they have more colour in the happy parts and a paler shade in the moments when the cloud is all around Willy.

The ending of the story is a satisfying one whether reading more into this book, or the basic cloud story. Despite the fact it’s a good ending though I am finding it hard to rate this book as I just don’t feel that the message comes across as easily as it should, and I think some adults might miss the meaning, indeed I did the first time I read this.

Willy and the Cloud book page image two
©The Strawberry Post

I think kids will enjoy this book on the pictures and the basic cloud story alone, but with the deeper message that can be read from this book can be a good story for adults to discuss further with kids especially if there are children who tend to seem unhappy or shy with letting out their feelings, (though it has to be said that letting out feelings doesn’t have to take the angry route it did in the book). Overall though a great book!

-Review first appeared online November 2017 – now republished here.

What do you think of this book?  Have you read any books featuring Willy the Chimp?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂