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Once Upon a Cloud

Last updated Monday, April 4, 2005

Author: Rob D. Walker
Illustrator: Matt Mahurin
Date of Publication: 2004
ISBN: 0439688795
Grade Level: 1st    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Apr. 2005

Synopsis: (from the publisher) "What are clouds made of, and why do they float? Are skies the water and clouds the boat?" From cotton candy that melts in your mouth to comfy cushions where birds take their naps, clouds take on many shapes in our imaginations. This whimsical picture book by newcomer Robert Walker and acclaimed illustrator Matt Mahurin takes young readers on a fantastic journey through the skies, leading them eventually to sleep: "I know what they are, I've figured it out. Clouds are just dreams that wander about ..."

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What are clouds? Of what do you think clouds could be made?
•  When someone says ?use your imagination,? what does that mean? Can you imagine something to be something else? (Hold up a shape or a cottonball--what could it be?)
•  Have you ever looked at clouds and seen pictures in their shapes? What have you seen?
•  What do you think clouds feel like? Imagine you are walking on a cloud--what does it feel like?
•  What is a rhyme? What are some words that rhyme?
•  Vocabulary: float, drift, exhaust, squalls, Father Time, wander

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What else could clouds be?
•  If you could paddle a cloud boat, where would you go?
•  Raise your hand during the reading if you hear two words that rhyme--what words?
•  How could we find out of what clouds are really made?

Craft ideas:
•  Cut out clouds with different shapes. Paste them on a new piece of paper to make a sky.
•  Make a headband with all the ideas about clouds. Bring ahead option: bring cotton balls to make the clouds puffy.

Special activities:
•  Go sit outside in a circle near the classroom and look for cloud formations. What do you see? (If it is too cloudy, or not cloudy enough, lie face up on the rug and close your eyes--what cloud shapes do you see?)

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!