Posted on March 23rd, 2015 by pajamapress
In a Cloud of Dust offers a glimpse into the daily struggle of a young Tanzanian girl. Anna has along trek to and from school. While her classmates relax on lunch break, she works on her assignments, knowing it will be too dark to study by the time she walks back home. When Anna misses the arrival of the travelling bicycle library and isn’t able to claim a bike for herself, she swallows her disappointment and eagerly helps her friends master their new two-wheelers. Her generosity of spirit is repaid by her friend Mohammad , who shares his bike. Barrelling down the well-trodden path home, Anna revels in her speedy flight, and “kicks up her own cloud of dust.”
Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award winner Alma Fullerton’s inviting text is spare and poetic. Lines appear staggered across the page in quick bursts that reflect the children’s excitement and energy: “Anna runs beside Farida. / She bumpety-bumps/ with Samwel. / She helps Leyla careen. / She twists and turns with Irene.”
Brian Deines’ radiant oil paintings glow with orange and yellow background washes. An aerial view of Anna standing by herself after all the bikes have been claimed highlights the girl’s initial isolation and disappointment. The warmly realistic images of Anna helping Leyla learn to balance, and Prisca laughing after taking a tumble, nicely capture the children’s indefatigable spirits.