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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Life has been difficult since the pandemic hit. Stuck at home, unable to visit loved ones, learning remotely at home, and not being allowed to visit friends has taken its toll on all of us, not the least being young children who find this all very confusing and, quite frankly, frightening. For Sunny Albright, the happy little girl who sees pictures of cheerful things in the clouds, it’s particularly difficult, especially when she can no longer visit her beloved grandmother who lives in an assisted living facility close by. And then her grandmother contracts Covid and passes away. Sunny Albright is no longer the happy, ‘sunny’ child she once was. That is until the clouds she once loved pay her a visit in her dreams. Things will never be quite the same; her grandmother will never be able to do things with them. But life does go on and memories are still there to be cherished.
Ron Sachs, Gay Webster Sachs, and Nancy Sica’s picture book story, The Secret in the Clouds, is such a sweet, compassionate, touching story that will warm the hearts of all. This isn’t merely an uplifting story for children but for all of us as we are hopefully emerging at the end of a long dark tunnel. It has been a difficult time and Sunny Albright is a fine example of how we can find our way through the angst caused by restrictions, illness, separation, and grief. This is a family story, intended to help heal families. The plot follows Sunny Albright through her happy times, her initial reaction to the lockdown, the sadness of being separated from her grandmother, and then the grief of losing her to Covid. The climax is the dream in which the clouds help her see the beauty beyond grief and fear. And, at the end of the story, after an interesting introduction to the various types of clouds, the authors provide a definition and explanation complete with illustrations of what each of these clouds is: cumulus, stratus, etc. This story a much-needed respite for troubled souls and we’re all troubled souls right now. Beautifully told and illustrated. As difficult as it sometimes appears, life does go on.