Zhiwei Xing, Footprints in the Clouds, Starfish Bay Children’s Books, December 2019, 40 pp., RRP $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781760360559
My first impressions of Footprints in the Clouds were very positive with a colourful front cover that was appealing and seemed unique but also on-trend.
The story is about a boy named Tom who has magical red socks that take him on magical adventures. It’s simple and reads a bit like a folktale or myth. The whole book reminded me of reading aboriginal stories in picture book form as a kid, and the many positive feelings they provided.
While the story has a simplicity, which is appropriate for pre-schoolers, it is balanced by the illustrations, which have a colour-filled busy-ness. The artwork is not big, bright, bold cartoonish pictures, but rather the pages are packed with various brush strokes making unusual shapes and which challenge the reader to take time to experience each element.
Footprints in the Clouds is certainly a unique offering in the children’s picture book market. While the aesthetic of the illustrations might not be pleasing to everyone, this type of work offers a different approach, and will be a new and welcome visual experience for many children.
Reviewed by Cherie Bell