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Sector 7 (Caldecott Honor Book) Hardcover – September 20, 1999
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In another wondrous, wordless picture book by Caldecott Medal winner David Wiesner (Tuesday and June 29, 1999), a class visiting the Empire State Building finds complete cloud cover and no visibility. One boy makes friends with a cloud (identifiable in the mists by the red mittens, hat, and scarf and swipes from the boy), and goes AWOL on a wonderful adventure. The cloud whisks him away to the "Sector 7" floating cloud factory, a bizarre sky station that looks like a Victorian design for a submarine.
Hiding behind his new cumulonimbus friend, the boy enters an area resembling Grand Central Station (complete with "Arrivals" and "Departures" boards) and watches officious human types in uniform giving the clouds their weather assignments. When the clouds complain to the boy that their assigned shapes are boring, he, a talented artist, creates new blueprints for them. The stuffy grownups are furious when clouds start emerging in the shape of fantastic fish; they shout at the clouds, tear up the new designs, and escort the boy back to his school group. But the revolt of the clouds is unstoppable now, and in the last few pages the skies over Manhattan suddenly get a lot more interesting. (Click to see a sample spread. Copyright 1999 by David Wiesner. With permission of Clarion Books.) (Ages 2 to 8) --Richard Farr
From Publishers Weekly
Caldecott Medalist Wiesner (Tuesday) again takes to the air, with watercolors that render words superfluous. Here, a boy on a class trip to the Empire State Building discovers that the landmark, enveloped by fog, is nonetheless a gateway to incredible vistas indeed. The boy is soon befriended by a jolly cloud that whisks him off to a sort of Grand Central in the sky, which functions as headquarters for clouds in the metro areaASector 7. Giant tubes funnel the clouds in and out of a designated waiting area; boards overhead track arrivals and departures (e.g., "Altocumulus" Dep. 1:03, Tube 21W). Uniformed bureaucrats keep their eyes on the skies in various locations (Hoboken, Brooklyn, Manhattan, etc.) by means of TV-type monitors, and issue each departing cloud an architectural-type drawing with precisely delineated shapes and measurements to which it must conform. The complex is rendered with the hard edges and clear definition of ultra-realism, a style that serves as an effective foil for both the wispy clouds and the story's fantastical premise. Magnificent as the "Cloud Dispatch Center" is, it is only the beginning. For the boy, having discerned the clouds' dissatisfaction with their pedestrian assignments, alters the drawings and specs so that the clouds begin to transform into blowfish, angel fish and octopus shapes. Even after the unamused bureaucrats discover his creations and summarily return him by cloud taxi to his classmates, the boy's influence persists: an elaborate tropical-sea-in-the-sky astonishes his friends (and strangers on the street), draws fish to the surface of the river, and has the city's indoors cats pawing at their windowpanes in excitement. Starting from a simple, almost obvious ideaAonce one has thought of itAWiesner offers up an ingenious world of nearly unlimited possibilities. His paintings, at once highly playful and purely pristine, contain such a wealth of details that they reveal new discoveries even after repeated examinations. The frame-within-a-frame that depicts the boy's first glimpse of the Sector 7 complex, for instance, is a mesmerizing study of the variegated colors and textures of clouds. The work as a whole is an inspired embodiment of what seems to be this artist's approach to story and vision: the more you look, the more there is to see. Ages 5-up.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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When a boy goes on a school field trip to the Empire State Building, he little suspects what a thrilling adventure he's about to have. Initially, he's disappointed. At the top of the tower the world is engulfed in a thick fog. Yet out of this fog, an unlikely friend appears. A little cloud, nicking the boy's hat and scarf for fun, quickly befriends the awed child and invites him up up up into the sky. Riding on the cloud's back, the boy nears the processing station for Sector 7 (a sector that covers the general New York area with some space given to the Atlantic Ocean as well). Boy and cloud pass through Receiving and enter the Assignment Station. While there, they hear the complaints of other clouds. The assignments are fine, but they're so dull. Just the usual puffy fluffiness we see all the time in the sky. With a little imagination, the boy convinces the clouds to try out new forms. It seems they're particularly adept at the shapes of tropical fish. Of course, the people in charge of the Sector 7 plant aren't pleased with the clouds' new shapes. Yet after the boy has gone home, it's clear that his influence is being carried on by people who like the idea of doing things a little differently.
Mr. Wiesner's the master of the clever little detail. As parents and children go through this book (its wordless quality makes it an ideal gift for anyone, regardless of age or nationality) they find themselves discovering new little details with every read. Did you catch the reason why the boy draws fish from the last shot in the book? How about the ways in which the clouds wordlessly describe their boredom with previous assignments? When I think of watercolors, I don't tend to think of highly accentuated details. Just the same, Wiesner has tamed this highly adaptable medium to his own particular wants and needs. He cleverly lets the boy's personal cloud continue to wear the kid's bright red cap throughout the book so that the reader can tell it apart from other cloudlings. And there is no doubt left in the reader's mind that the Sector 7 processing plant is truly New Yorkian. Resembling a kind of cross between a train station and an immaculate subway stop, this is a cosmopolitan factory if ever there was one.
If you've never read a Wiesner to your child and aren't entirely certain where to start, it's hard to go wrong with "Sector 7". Understandably, many see this as their favorite Wiesner book. And while on paper I state that "The Three Pigs" is his magnum opus, I confess that "Sector 7" may be the one I love the most. A sweet and ultimately satisfying little book.
It's nice to discuss each picture with my son. I believe that we're developing some valuable communication skills.
We also enjoy Free Falling and June 29th 1999 from David Weisner. Don't let your children grow up without introducing them to these treasures!
Because there are no words, he can tell the story to me. I think books like this teach children to look at the details and to study facial expressions.
This book is Brilliant!