Ivy and the Lonely Raincloud by Katie Harnett
Newly released by Flying Eye Books, Ivy and the Lonely Raincloud by Katie Harnett tells the story of a grumpy young florist who (as you might have guessed) is called Ivy and a raincloud who (you also might have guessed) is lonely. The cloud is keen to be friends with anyone who doesn't mind a bit of rain but Ivy isn't so keen at first. I won't give away the ending but, given that the book was created primarily for children and the fact that a cloud would be a very practical friend for a florist to have, you can assume the ending is a pretty happy one.
Katie Harnett, the book's creator, is an award-winning illustrator who works primarily on book-based projects and previously released the brilliantly named Archie Snufflekins Oliver Valentine Cupcake Tiberius Cat with Flying Eye Books. At first Katie's work reminded me a little bit of previous Flying Eye collaborators Emily Hughes and Simona Ciraolo (never a bad thing) but on further inspection I found plenty of design quirks which make Katie's illustrative style unique to her.
For starters, Katie's use of colour is inspired. The warm oranges, sandy yellows and leafy greens of Ivy's shop set against duller tones of pail blues and stoney greys brilliantly captures the contrast and beauty of the two character's world's colliding. Katie's characterisation is genius in it's simplicity too. The simple addition of two black dots turns a watery puddle of paint into one of the most endearing picture book characters I have seen in a while.
Ivy and the raincloud's friendship is truly heartwarming and their are underlying themes of friendship and a message of kindness throughout the story, however I think the biggest lesson the book offers is about style. Interior bloggers up and down the country are currently running around like crazy trying desperately to fill their homes with as many plants as humanly possible in order to stay on trend but Ivy has already achieved the coveted bohemian aesthetic. Her house is an illustrated Instagrammer's dream and offers lots of inspired styling tips. Basically, if you want to raise your child to nice to people but also to have a great eye for spotting interior trends (be honest, isn't this every parent's dream?) then this is the book for you!