The Cloud Collector’s Handbook

Last updated Monday, November 4, 2019

Author: Gavin Pretor-Pinney
Date of Publication: 2011
ISBN: 0811875423
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Nov. 2019

Synopsis: The perfect incentive for keeping your head in the clouds, The Cloud Collector's Handbook is a whimsical guide to the wonders of the sky. Throughout, author and cloud expert Gavin Pretor-Pinney catalogs a variety of clouds and gives readers points for spotting them and recording their finds. This fun and useful book features gorgeous full-color photographs that showcase a new type of cloud on every spread, from fluffy cumulus to the super rare horseshoe vortex to the wispy noctilucent clouds that hang at the fringes of space. Sure to be a hit with both aspiring and seasoned cloud gazers, this clever handbook will have everyone looking up.

Note to readers:
•  The Introduction, "How to Collect Clouds," is a great place to start! Feel free to skim through the pages and choose pages/clouds that most interest the children. Suggested pages - 10-20, 33-34, 88-91, 94, 12-113, 114-117
•  Tak about pictures, especially the two page ones.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Do you know the names of any types of clouds?
•  What colors would you use to describe a cloud?
•  Do you enjoy observing clouds and/or the sky above you?
•  Have you ever seen a cloud look like something else?
•  Did you know there were several variety of clouds?
•  How do you think clouds are formed?


•  p.10 unstable - things could change without warning
•  p.12 overcast - clouds covering 95% of the sky
•  p.16 claustrophobic - having a fear of confined spaces
•  p.88 vortex - rotating (air)
•  p.112 wavelengths - the distance between crests of a wave

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What does this cloud look like (example: p.18 "jellyfish trails")
•  What colors are there in a rainbow (example p. 1140117)
•  What else can diamond dust look like (stars, glitter)
•  Are clouds hot or cold?
•  What type of cloud most resonated with you and why?
•  What clouds are most common where you live?
•  What type of cloud was the most unique from the ones you learned about today?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw a cloud that is not pictured in the book-- a cloud that exists only in your imagination.
•  Draw a visual encyclopedia of at least three clouds from the book with brief information about it. This can be the beginning of of your "cloud collection."
•  Create a chart/graph, listing the following information: the name of the cloud, drawing of the cloud, short description, and weather associated with the cloud you selected. Also feel free to add any other categories that will help you identify the clouds when cloud watching.
•  Make your own leaf wreath with fresh leaves or ones you cut out of construction paper yourself
•  Make a cloud with cotton balls and blue or black construction paper
•  make diamond dust on black paper with white crayon or bits of white paper
•  Check our craft ideas on Pinterest!

Special activities:
•  If you could have a cloud loook like anything, what would it be?
•  Cloud charades: Split into two groups. Each group has to guess the type of cloud each member is with using only descriptions and movement. Book can be used as a reference. Ideally, it would be clouds that were discussed during the reading club.
•  Cloud spelling bee: Each child is asked to spell the name of different clouds. Whoever spells the most correctly, wins.

*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!