Guest Author - Kathryn K Free
Book Review: High in the Clouds
Author: Paul McCartney, Geoff Dunbar, Philip Ardagh
Published: October 2005, Dutton Books
# of Pages: 93
eBook ISBN #: 9780525477334
Wirral, the squirrel, finds himself alone. The woodland where he lived has been destroyed by city developers and his mother killed. Frightened and confused Wirral remembers the stories his mother told him about a place where animals live safely and securely. A place called Animalia, a tropical animal sanctuary. It sounds like a dream, but a dream Wirral believes is true.
Wirral is thrown into the mean streets of Megatropolis where he meets Wilhamina, a girl squirrel. Joined by his friend Froggo, a world-class amphibian balloonist, and Wilhamina, they set off to lead the enslaved animals of Megatropolis to Anamilia.
Does Anamilia really exist? Do Wirral, Froggo and Wilhamina make it to Anamilia?
Paul McCartney recorded children’s lullaby ‘Mary Had A Little Lamb’ and the adventures of Rupert the Frog. He has created a number of animated films in collaboration with Geoff Dunbar, including Rupert and the Frog Chorus which won a BAFTA for best animated short film and became the best-selling video of the year.
However, High in the Clouds, is his first children’s books. I purchased my copy when it first came out. In fact, I stood in line for hours to have Paul sign my copy. It is a treasure and I will always remember it. Having Paul sign the book was what I wanted, not the book itself. Then I decided to read it during this months book club and I was pleasantly surprised.
Although the reading level is for grades 2-4, I found it very entertaining. There were many lines that made me laugh.
The plot is fast and funny with illustrations full of rich color. The reader is faced with real life events that are sad, encouraging, hopeful and challenging. The characters are inventive and will live on in your mind as you finish the final page.
The story is happy and predictable, as most children’s stories are. Humor is evident throughout and some jokes may fall flat (on those not a McCartney fan) while others you will remember. For example, the Gretch (who decides to destroy the city) is also a brand name of a guitar. And Wirral uses some Beatle lyrics to continue forward to Anamilia ~ ‘you know it’s up to you/I think it’s only fair’ is from She Loves You. Then my favorite Ratzy’s dad ~ ‘Papa Ratzy’. Just saying ‘Papa Ratzy’ will make children and adults laugh at how silly it sounds.
The illustrations reminded me of cartoon stills and I liked this. It helped me paint the picture in my memory when some of the English style came through.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading High in the Clouds. A story where good triumphs over evil is always good. The anthem, We All Stand Together, seems to be summed up in the Beatles song ‘All Together Now’ from Yellow Submarine.
I would recommend Yellow Submarine. This is an classic cartoon done by the Beatles. The story is similar and ends all together singing and laughing.