In The Nimbles of Nimbus, illustrated and written by Sharon Boylan Lynch, a joyride in a glider and an unexpected turn of events bring two curious and imaginative groups of children together. Skittle and Tumble, two cloud children, spend their time playing in the sky, changing themselves into exciting shapes, and wondering about the Earth far below. Kate and Jack, two human children, spend their time flying about in their orange plane and wondering about the clouds far above.
One day, Kate and Jack fly very high and get stuck in a cloud bank. Skittle and Tumble meet and befriend Kate and Jack and show them the wonderful world of the Nimbles before helping them return their plane to earth.
Lynch sets a bright, cheery tone from the very beginning of the poem. Names like “Sunshine,” “Bubblebath Falls,” and “Skittle” enhance the lively feel of the story. Verbs like “cascaded,” “tumbled,” and “waggled” are in keeping with the upbeat word choice.
The Nimbles of Nimbus is a book that any young child will enjoy hearing read aloud. The bright wording and lively style will hold children’s attention. They will be captivated by the food metaphors, like the comparison of the clouds to egg whites, and by the physical sensations evoked by words like “raced,” “bounced,” and “licked.” Young listeners will easily relate to the joy-filled and imaginative characters.
Occasionally, the sentences seem too long and complex for the short attention span of young children. For instance, Lynch writes, “Then she peered over the edge of her cuddly cloud bed to see where over the earth the island of Nimbus was floating today.” Realistically, the book can only function as a read-aloud because the reading level of the intended audience and the complexity of the content don’t quite match up. However, the vivid and yet soothing illustrations are appealing. The pictures also logically relate to the words, and this connection may bridge the occasional disconnect between the vocabulary level of the book and that of the target audience.
Overall, Lynch’s book, with its memorable characters, perky tone, and beautiful illustrations provides a charming and unique addition to any early elementary classroom or library.