The Clouds Above (Fantagraphics)

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cloudsabove-header.jpgJordan Crane's not-quite-children's book—now available in a new softcover edition—is so enjoyable it's almost good enough to eat.



224 pgs. Full Color; Hardcover 2005 $18.95; Softcover 2008 $16.99

(W / A: Jordon Crane)

The cover to The Clouds Above by Jordan Crane. Click for a larger image.I kind of want to eat this book, but imagine withdrawing from my mouth, cartoon style, the picked clean bones of a fish—or maybe a little bird. It would be more appropriate to the story. I guess it would really be more appropriate to eat a nice cupcake with pink icing while reading The Clouds Above rather than actually eating the book.

This is a not-quite-children's book masquerading as such. The artwork is fairly simple with repeating and frequent colors similar to those often used to decorate a kid's room. Bright pink, yellow, and blue make up a large chunk of the color scheme. Jordan Crane has created a graphic novel with adorable and cartoonish characters, reminding us what it was like to read the books of our childhoods.

The Clouds Above is a smallish (about 6.25"x6.75") and somewhat fat book with one 4"x4" panel per page. This attribute is another that lends to the storybook-like feel of the book. The reader is taken through a singular adventure of Simon and Jack, a little boy and his large feline companion. The premise is simple: Simon is late for school and finds himself locked from the building. In the words of little Simon, "Crabcakes!" Through a charming and oddly rhyming text, Simon decides to sneak into an air vent. He chickens out when he actually gets to the door and we see, a la Charlie Brown and other ghosts from our past, his headless-by-framing teacher. Missus Poe is pancake breasted, pit-stained, and mean. Our hero flees to the roof before he is found and this is where the real adventure starts. They take a stairway to the clouds, where good clouds rain instead of cry, bad clouds are out to get you like zombies, and yellow birds roam with a somewhat insane pack mentality.

Aw, Crabcakes! Interior art from The Clouds Above by Jordan Crane. Click for a larger image.There is text (via word balloons) on almost every page, but it is not a word-heavy book. The dialogue, mostly played out between Simon and Jack, gently fades in and out of rhyme. It fits in well with the artwork—both being simple, yet captivating.

The Clouds Above is a fantastic romp that kids and adults alike can easily enjoy. It will satisfy your literary and visual sweet tooth, but it is not fluff. It is a gorgeously drawn and packaged little book. | Jaffa Aharonov

Click here for free wallpapers, previews, and more, courtesy of Fantagraphics!

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