Free as a cloud by Bai Bing

cover image

Ill. by Yu Rong. Starfish Bay Publishing, 2017. ISBN 9781760360351
(Age: 5-8) Recommended. Sweetie is a myna bird who lives as a pet with his loving family. He is well treated with juicy fruit, taken out for rides and bought the most beautiful birdcage but Sweetie is still unhappy. Although he loves his family he has no heart to sing and doesn't know why. Eventually the reason is discovered, he needs to return to his home jungle, where...
'I am so happy I want to sing out loud.
I want to sing to the other birds and sing to myself. I am a beautiful myna as free as a cloud'.
The moral of the story is that freedom is essential to happiness, no matter how wonderful the cage is. The family show true love to Sweetie as they are pleased to set him free to ensure his contentment and well being.
The illustrations are a combination of black paper cuts and free form drawings, the main focus of the pictures being the dark cut out shapes. They highlight Sweetie's personal story especially his joyous expression as he flies home to the jungle.
This story was originally in Chinese and won the prestigious Golden Apple Award from the Biennial of Illustration, Bratislava.
Recommended for 5 to 8 year olds.
Jane Moore