Reading/Interest Level: Preschool
Author: Anthony Browne
Illustrator: Anthony Browne
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Willy decides to go to the park. With only one tiny cloud in the sky, Willy isn't worried, but as Willy walks, the cloud seems to follow him and grow bigger. By the time Willy gets there, the cloud is too troubling to enjoy the park, even though no one else seems to mind. Forced to go home, he closes the curtains to avoid the ever-present cloud. When he opens them again, the cloud is gone—or so he thinks until he goes back outside. Unable to take it any longer, he stands up to the cloud and is able to enjoy the cool rain.
The message on its own is going to be too ambiguous for most children, unless they also fear clouds like Willy. But with some discussion, Willy provides an excellent example of how to deal with irrational fears. When he stands up to the cloud, he proclaims that it is nothing more than little bits of dust and air. Discussing the physical elements of what the child fears and understanding that their component parts aren't inherently scary may be productive. The illustrations that accompany Willy are well done in Anthony Browne's characteristic style along with the chimp, Willy, that is also in some of his other work.