In a Tanzanian village school, Anna struggles to keep up. Her walk home takes so long that when she arrives, it is too dark to do her homework. Working through the lunch hour instead, she doesn’t see the truck from the bicycle library pull into the schoolyard. By the time she gets out there, the bikes are all gone. Anna hides her disappointment, happy to help her friends learn to balance and steer. She doesn’t know a compassionate friend will offer her a clever solution—and the chance to raise her own cloud of dust.
Brought to life by Brian Deines’ vivid oil paintings, Alma Fullerton’s simple, expressive prose captures the joy of feeling the wind on your face for the first time. Inspired by organizations like The Village Bicycle Project that have opened bicycle libraries all across Africa, In a Cloud of Dust is an uplifting example of how a simple opportunity can make a dramatic change in a child’s life.
Notable for its message of putting others before oneself, the story is buoyed by illustrations that shimmer with movement, light, and feeling. Shades of ochre, amber, and pale gold radiate from each two-page spread, conveying through oil paint the warmth and grittiness of this village and its children. An author’s note explains the role of and constant need for bicycles in Africa.
Oil paintings in rich shades of orange show the children surrounded by clouds of dust...and the simple text reads aloud smoothly, making the book a good introduction for a discussion of different yet similar lives. An author's note, appropriate for adults sharing this story with children, explains the need for bicycles in southern African countries and provides the names of organizations that work to fill that need. A nice addition to primary-grade 'values' collections.
Soaked in warm golds and oranges, Deines’s oil paintings glow with a sense of promise as the children race around the schoolyard on their bikes. Fullerton says quite a bit with few words in her verselike prose, and a detailed author’s note discusses the vital role bicycles play in communities across Africa and supplies information about bicycle donation organizations.
Glowing oil painting in golds and oranges spotlight the simple, uplifting story about sharing.
[Deines'] rich oil paintings, with their solid figures and warm palette, are very much up to the task of giving readers the sense of life in Africa. The joy of the children who have received a life-changing gift leaps off the pages....Fullerton...has provided a spare text that touches neatly on all the key points of the story.
Fullerton’s inviting text is spare and poetic.... Deines’ radiant oil paintings glow...
Alma Fullerton's text is modest in its quantity but weighty in its simple message of compassion and support...Brian Deines' illustrations are incomparable, effectively portraying the dusty and lengthy distances over Anna must travel to school...highly evocative of the landscape and mood of the remote areas of Anna's Tanzanian home...
In a Cloud of Dust...teaches a powerful lesson about sharing, and can be used by parents and teachers to show children there are others in the world who are less fortunate.
The dusty Tanzanian countryside and the children’s joyous faces, rendered realistically in Deines’s artwork, shows how simple acts can transform a child’s life.
Highly recommended for preschool, elementary and public libraries to increase awareness of life in different cultures and parts of the world.
Highly recommended for classroom investigation and discussion and learning about good citizenship.
This glowing book is a wonderful introduction for young readers to life in a culture where many things are different, but some things are exactly the same.