Yvonne Fleming on ‘Colin Cloud is Making Shapes’ and Bringing The Weatherbies to the UK
“Everyone looks at the landscapes and admires the views, but the sky looks amazing and is ever changing.”
Colin Cloud is Making Shapes is the latest book in The Weatherbies series. Created by Yvonne Fleming and illustrated by James Salenga; the series hopes to send a message to children about the importance of protecting our environment. Successful in Northern Ireland, Colin Cloud’s book marks the first time The Weatherbies have been available across the whole of the UK.
On the eve of the book’s release – you can order your copy here – we chat to Yvonne about her work, Colin as a character and what impact she’d like her books to have.
How does it feel to have signed your first publishing deal?
I am delighted and excited to have signed my first publishing deal. When I created the Weatherbies characters and stories for my children I never imagined that one day I would be signed by a publisher. Signing with Tiny Tree is a great achievement and it’s like a dream come true.
How exciting is it to know that this book will be available all over the UK?
I’m overjoyed and overwhelmed that my Weatherbies book will be available over the UK. It excites me to think that more children will have access to the Colin Cloud storybook.
The Weatherbies are characters that you created. What made you take inspiration from the weather cycle and the environment?
The weather has always fascinated me, and the water cycle is a very important process in keeping the environment healthy. I always loved watching the clouds and the shapes they made when I was a child. The weather affects everyone around the world every day, and I want the Weatherbies characters to show children how the weather and environment are linked. Everyone looks at the landscapes and admires the views, but the sky looks amazing and is ever changing.
Are you environmentally quite conscious yourself then?
Yes, I am conscious of the environment and climate change, and I feel even more people should be, especially this year in light of the extreme weather happening all around the world. I always recycle and reuse anything I can. I’m always turning off lights and electrical appliances and encouraging my boys to do the same.
Can you tell us a little about Colin Cloud as a character?
Colin Cloud is an adorable, nervous little character who never sits still. Though probably the most intelligent Weatherbie in Skytown, Colin lacks self-confidence and is not keen on confrontation. He lives on Puddle Place with his best friend Ronny Rain and is very much the peace-keeper of Skytown and is always on hand to quell arguments and regain harmony. Colin loves doing wheelies and always blushes when he’s close to Rosie Rainbow as he really likes her. His special skill is collecting moisture from the air and when he gets full he delivers an impressive cloudburst.
Colin Cloud is Making Shapes is the third book in the series – how do you keep your ideas fresh and the stories interesting for children?
When my boys were young and asked me about anything I would use my little Weathebies characters to explain things in a fun way. Being a childminder and working with children gives you an insight into how little ones feel and see things, and this helps me create ideas for stories. The Weatherbies characters deal with issues that children can relate to in everyday life and my stories show them having fun playing and working together to solve problems.
You’ve given a few people a sneak preview of Colin already. What was the reaction like?
When I did the sneak preview of Colin Cloud is Making Shapes the children and adults really enjoyed it. The children interacted well with me when I was reading the story and I got a lot of positive feedback from the parents saying it was a great idea and a fun way to teach the children about the weather and environment around them.
What is it you would like children and parents to take from Colin Cloud’s story and The Weatherbies series as a whole?
I would like children and parents to have a fun experience, and enjoy interacting and building strong bonds while reading my stories together. I hope the children connect with the Weatherbies characters and become more aware of the weather and the environment around them and how to protect it.
My aim is for the stories to have a positive effect on children providing them with social skills that they can use in everyday life, whilst also teaching them about recycling, reusable energy, the environment and weather cycles – something that will give them a better understanding of these topics when they are taught in school.