Little Cloud by Eric Carle

Intro and technique

Summary of the Story

A little cloud drifts off from the other clouds and becomes a sheep, an airplane, a shark, trees, a rabbit, and a clown. He then joins the other clouds, and they turn into one big cloud and rain.

Introducing the Story

  • Read the title of the book on the cover, while pointing to each word. Say the title together as you point to each word. Ask: Where do you see clouds? (We can see them outside in the sky.)
  • Trace Little Cloud's eyes, nose, and mouth on the cover with your finger. Make sure the child sees the face on the cloud.

Reading the Story

  • Read the words to the story on each page, moving your finger under the words as you read.
  • As you go through the book, point to each shape Little Cloud turns into.

Reading the Book Again and Again

  • Each time you read Little Cloud, leave more of the "reading" or retelling to the child. Give open-ended prompts on each page. For example, ask: What is happening here? What has Little Cloud turned into?
  • Give prompts about objects or activities in the pictures. For example, ask: What is this animal called? (It is a sheep.) Use your finger to point to what you are asking about. Evaluate the child's response. Expand it by giving more information. Ask the child to repeat the answer. If he or she needs help in answering a question, ask that question again the next time you read the book. Good words to ask about are listed in the vocabulary section below. Be sure to talk about objects and actions the child brings up, too.
  • You may wish to discuss the prompts shown below.

Building Literacy

  • Talk with your child about clouds. Look for clouds out the window or on a walk. Talk about the shapes clouds take.

Prompts and vocabulary


Ask the child questions after the second and third readings of Little Cloud to start a conversation about the book. You can prompt the child on every page, using the questions below. If the child says something spontaneously about a picture, expand on it and ask the child to repeat it. There are questions for every one or two pages of the story.

  1. Who is this? (It is Little Cloud.)
  2. Where is Little Cloud now? (He is down toward the ground, touching the houses and the trees.)
  3. How many houses do you see in this picture? Let's count them together. (There are five houses.)
  4. What has happened to Little Cloud? (He has become a great big cloud.)
  5. What has Little Cloud changed into? (He has changed into a sheep.)
  6. What has Little Cloud changed into in this picture? (He has changed into an airplane.)
  7. What has Little Cloud changed into now? (He has changed into a shark.)
  8. Do you know what a shark is? (A shark is a really big fish.)
  9. What has Little Cloud changed into here? (He has changed into two kinds of trees.)
  10. What has Little Cloud changed into now? (He has changed into a rabbit.)
  11. Where are the rabbit's ears? Where is its tail?
  12. What do you see in this picture? (a hat)
  13. What has Little Cloud changed into? (He has changed into a clown.)
  14. Can you point to the clown's hat?
  15. What is happening in this picture? (Little Cloud is drifting back toward the other clouds.)
  16. What is happening in this picture? (It's raining.)
  17. Where does the rain come from? (Rain comes from the clouds.)


The words listed below come from the story and its pictures. As you page through the book, point to the pictures and ask the child to name the object or the action shown. This will help the child learn new words. You can use the words below, or you can choose words you think will interest your child. Below are words for every one or two pages of the story.

  • big clouds, little cloud, sky
  • houses, trees
  • eyes, nose, mouth
  • sheep, tail, wooly coat
  • airplane, wings, tail, flying
  • shark, fins, swimming
  • trees
  • rabbit, ears, tail, whiskers, running
  • hat
  • clown, funny face, waving, shoes, buttons
  • big clouds, little cloud, sky
  • raining

Excerpted from Read Together, Talk Together, the Pearson Early Childhood research-based program that makes reading aloud even more effective!

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