Jordan Crane's the Clouds Above is a sweet little tale about a kid and his cat who get kicked out of school and find a stairway through the clouds. Along the way they meet mean little yellow birds, a depressed pink cloud and a vicious thunderstorm. It's a whimsical (I hate using that word, but it really fits... it kind of goes wherever it feels it needs to go) little tale that is also really well-done. Seriously, the art's gorgeous. Here's a panel:
Awesome, right? Here's the Amazon link. They have it buddied up with Aaron Renier's Spiral Bound, which seems like a fair enough fit. They're both recommended, though Spiral Bound skews slightly older (elementary school-aged) than my gal (though it works for adults, too) right now. And because Clouds is set up as having one panel per page (using the gutter of the book as the panel gutter and transition device) rather than any kind of grid system, the reading is easier. It's the simplest form of comics language, really (which is why I don't consider something like the Family Circus a comic... there's no sequence to it. It's an illustration with words. Also, it is really dumb. "Oh my gosh! 'Somebody' broke a window, but what the parents don't understand is that there is an actual ghost named 'Somebody' who broke the window and is totally framing PJ! Dude! This is awesome! I can't wait to see what happens next! Oh wait. NOTHING happens next because the no-talent, hobo-killing alcoholic who draws this strip can't be bothered to draw more than one panel! WTH?!"*).
So, a Big Red Robot recommendation for the Clouds Above. Sadie and I read it the other night and we both loved it to bits. She took it to bed to read while she fell asleep, which was pretty dang cute. It's an all-ages comic that isn't so "kiddie" that you can't really enjoy it as an adult (Yes, I am looking at you, Owly, with your no words having self and your oh-so-cutesy conundrums). So yeah, the Clouds Above is awesome. Check it out.
*I just want to say that while the Family Circus is by no means my favorite part of the comics section (pronounced: "the only section worth reading"), this rant is entirely hypothetical and intended for comedic effect. There is no proof that any of my allegations - namely the whole alcoholism thing and the hobo-killing thing - are anything more than mean-spirited fabrications created entirely by me for no other reason than I have a lot of pent up rage toward Bill Keane, author and illustrator of aforementioned strip. I am seeking professional help and have made some breakthroughs, but I recognize that I still have a long ways to go. Bear with me. Though I will say that if you have to have your eight-year-old son draw your comics for you because you had a long night drinking and killing hobos, maybe it's time to lay off the sauce a little. And maybe not kill hobos anymore. I'm just saying.