I really enjoyed reading your Adventures of the Cloud Boy. I love how the cloud appears after breakfast in the cosy atmosphere of a family kitchen. The giant butterfly is scarier than the T-Rex!
I am going to highlight a few points that will help you making your story more easily appealing to child readers.
- Work on character building.
Usually at the beginning of a story there is a child with a problem that needs solving. Is there anything that Claus might want/lack/need that he does not already have? For example: he might be bored, insecure, lonely, etc. The role of the cloud will be stronger in helping him overcome such a problem. If he learns something in all his trips, children will be able to identify with him more. It would also be nice to understand a little more about the cloud, how it takes him back, why it appears, what are the consequences of the trips, how it leads Claus back home.
- Telling vs Showing.
In your story there is too much ‘telling’ and not enough ‘showing’, or dramatization. Use dialogues to make the story more lively. For example, in your first story try not describing (It was a picturesque village….; Claus’s dad was a farmer…) but rather present the setting as if you were watching the scene of a film with Claus talking to mum and dad, etc.* Also, avoid expressions like ‘To his amazement’, etc., and show how he was amazed/happy/scared – through his actions. Claus might have done or said something that demonstrates his feelings.
When he visits the 7 continents, he probably feels very excited. Can you show this through his behaviour? He may jump around and make the cloud wobble, as an example.
It would be nice to link more clearly the cloud’s visits to the different seasons at the farm. You could show how Claus is watching the leaves fall, or he could comment on the heat, etc.
- Tension within the story.
In order to make a story more gripping, we use tension between the protagonist and an antagonist. Make sure there is enough struggle, tension in each episode. For example, the Santa episode (any connections between Santa – Claus – and Claus’s name at all?) works well because you introduce the problem with the sleigh that Claus helps solving thanks to his cloud. This sort of ‘struggle’ should be the focus of each story. In your second story, it feels a bit ‘easy’ that Claus jumps in front of a T-Rex as a T-Rex would be so terrifying that only a superhero would feel like facing it! I would not dream of doing it if I were 7. Would you?
- Don’t rush your conclusions.
It could be a moment when Claus reflects on what he has learnt, on what he may do next time. It is also a good moment to create expectations for his next adventure. Does he only look forward to his adventures or is he slightly scared of some aspects of it? He may be scared that the cloud will not ‘save him’ on time, for example, or that it may take him somewhere he does not like. Try identifying with Claus as much as you can to dig into his emotions, both positive and negative.
Have you read The Nine Lives of Furry Purry Beancat. The Pirate Captain’s Cat (by Philip Ardagh)? The cat falls asleep and wakes up in a different place each time. It made me think about your story. There is quite a lot of action in that book, it might help you with dramatization.
I wish you all the best of luck with your story. I think it is an amazing idea, I can see a lot of promise. Keep writing!!
*I will give you an example of how to potentially dramatize a scene. This is purely a guidance, nothing to replicate as such!
From: Adventures of the cloud boy 1.
“Claus lived with his mom and dad in a little village. It was a picturesque village with rolling countryside and beautiful blue skies.
Claus’s dad was a farmer and Claus loved to farm with him. He would collect fresh, green vegetables from the farm and take it to mom. Claus and mom would then cook it into a lovely stew or soup that they enjoyed eating with rice, pasta or bread. [this sort of information can sound a bit flat if not presented from the protagonist’s point of view with some more personal and exciting details attached to it]
Claus enjoyed cooking as much as he did farming. He particularly enjoyed observing the steam that would rise from the pan that mom used to cook in. His eyes followed them dance around the room and rise higher and higher until it disappeared into thin air.”
Claus loved looking out of the window of his cottage while his mother was cooking: … [what does he see?]… the rolling countryside, his dad working the land or on his tractor, etc.
‘What’s for dinner?” asked Claus.
‘Carrot soup,’ said his mum.
‘My favourite!’ said Claus. ‘Can I help you chopping?’ (i.e. this shows that Claus likes cooking rather than saying than he likes it and it may add realism to the scene)
‘He realised the cloud might vanish through it and he would never see it again’
à ‘No, little cloud, don’t go away! Stay!’ said Claus in a panic. He was hoping he would make friends with the cloud so he would no longer feel lonely when his parents were at work.
+ Add some behaviour that shows Claus’s character. Is he affectionate? Is he shy? Is he in a good/bad mood? What does he like wearing? + It is good to alternate dialogues to descriptions in each scene.