Something About the Sky

Something About the Sky
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
Release Date
March 12, 2024
Buy This Book
Cut-paper wizard Nikki McClure is a brilliant steward for the words of a pioneering environmentalist in this wondrous ode to clouds—and the scientific “language of the sky.”

Rachel Carson once wrote, “It is not half so important to know as to feel.” What do we know about clouds? There are three basic types: stratus, cumulus, and cirrus. Some are fleecy and fair-weathered while others portend storms. But clouds are more than pretty or ominous backdrops. They’re the vehicle of water between sea and land, land and sea, in a cycle without end or beginning. They are the writing of the wind on the sky, a language all their own. An illustrator note explains the origins of Rachel Carson’s shimmering essay—previously unpublished in its entirety—and the process of adapting it to picture book format, as well as how the author of Silent Spring forever changed the way we think about science and progress. Bringing the soft edges of clouds and the natural world to vivid life with a new, more fluid approach to her signature cut-paper technique, Nikki McClure inspires true emotional engagement with the world we all share. An antidote to “get your head out of the clouds,” this art-meets-science tribute to curiosity and wonder is a gift for daydreamers and nature lovers of all ages.

Editor review

1 review
Carson's 1956 Writing Illustrated
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Learning Value
Orion nature magazine collaborated with cut paper artist Nikki McClure to produce this beautifully illustrated, picture book version of Rachel Carson's 1956 script for a television programs answering the request for "something about the sky". In poetic language, Carson gave an overview of how clouds and water work together in the environment. In addition to the general information, there is some specific discussion of the different type of clouds. This would be a good, philosophical introduction that could lead to more research on the topic.

Good Points
The illustrations make the book, of course, and McClure has some interesting notes about her process. Her 1, 2, 3, Salish Sea, Apple, and Old Wood Boat all embrace nature themes, and her research into different facets of the environment and science are evident especially in this book.

Rachel Carson was an intriguing scientist and environmentalist whose work and life should definitely be introduced to young readers. While Silent Spring might be a bit too much for early elementary school students, this has just the right amount of poetry and information to get young readers more interested in the world around them. Pair it with Rockwell's Clouds, Cobb's I Face the Wind, or Teckentrup's Look at the Weather, for more factual information.
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