Feline brother and sister bring bread to their father for breakfast. Shortly later the father cat floats up to the sky like a balloon.
The audience cheers for the father flying in the sky. This is a scene from a children’s musical titled “Cloud Bread in Playground.” Based on the book “Cloud Bread” and performed entirely in English, this children’s play features English dialogues, but it’s still easy to understand. The play especially appeals to young children, because the storyline is from a children’s tale.
- I was worried that the musical might be too hard to understand, but it turned out to be okay. I think it was because my children were familiar with the characters in the story. They liked it when the main characters got on the swings and flied through the sky. The idea of eating cloud bread and flying seems to have stimulated their curiosity and imagination.
Before the children’s story “Cloud Bread” debuted as a musical, it had already been produced into an animation series in September 2010. All 72 episodes of season one have been aired and the production of another 72 installments in the second season is underway. Characters from the story have appeared in a wide range of merchandises, including school supplies, household items, and books. Here’s Ms. Kim Hye-sun of Hansol Soo Book.
“Cloud Bread” was made into a brand of its own. The characters appear on notebooks, pencil cases, colored pencils, and other school supplies. There are even dolls, pillows, and other household items with brand logos and characters. Cloud Bread-based series include picture books, hand puppet books, cartoons, puzzle books, and English picture books.
The “Cloud Bread” book has sold more than 500 thousand volumes worldwide. The beloved story has undergone several adaptations and captured the hearts of countless children and adults through the musical, children’s music concert, and an animation series. Let’s go see the imaginative and delightful performance of the musical “Cloud Bread.”
It was back in the fall of 2004 that the story “Cloud Bread” made its debut. The tale featured a family of cats and described their everyday lives. But it was more than a story about an animal family. This imaginative tale blossomed as the cats take a piece of cloud off of a tree branch.
It was a rainy morning and the young kittens find a piece cloud snagged on a tree branch. They take a little piece of it to their mother and she bakes bread with it. That is where the title “Cloud Bread” comes from. The bread is baked in the oven for 45 minutes and when the kittens eat the bread they float up to the sky. Then they think about their father, who had to leave for work without having breakfast. So they decide to take the bread to their father. When they hold the bread close to their bodies, they find themselves up in the air. From there they spot their father stuck in traffic. They give him the bread after which the father also floats up into the sky and flies to work in time. Children find the story very warm-hearted and moving.
“Cloud Bread” realizes children’s dream of flying through the characters. Flying is a popular theme repeated in many children’s shows and books, notably in the hit TV show “Pororo the Little Penguin.” The story of soaring through the sky after eating cloud bread appeals immensely to the innocent childhood dream of both children and adults. Here’s Ms. Kim Hye-sun of Hansol Soo Book again.
The story’s imagination stands out. Who could have thought up bread made out of clouds? Many children would have daydreamed about touching the clouds when flying on an airplane or parachuting, but not about making bread out of clouds. I think it was a very original idea.
In addition to its imagination, the “Cloud Bread” books present charming visual elements. Unlike ordinary picture books, the “Cloud Bread” books feature images, which included actual materials like paper, fabric, and wood to make them appear more realistic and three-dimensional. This characteristic made the “Cloud Bread” series differ from other children’s picture books. Here’s children’s book author Eom Hye-sook.
There are several different types of illustration. What I found interesting was the pictures in the book were photographs of puppets. Also the shots were taken from different angles to create different atmospheres. One image would look very serene and static, while another one would be very dynamic, like the scene about flying after eating the cloud bread. The author mixed these photos to alternate the atmosphere of peacefulness and excitement, which is why the books are never boring. Since the characters are portrayed in paper puppets, children find them more familiar, like the puppets they can play with. This is why these images are more appealing than conventional two-dimensional illustrations.
The unconventional illustrations stimulate readers’ imagination and delight the eyes. And the story not only is interesting and fun, but also imparts moral lessons. Here’s Ms. Kim Hye-sun of Hansol Soo Book again.
The story could have ended simply as an imaginative fantasy. But it talks about family love. The children think about their father who hurried to work without breakfast and take the magical cloud bread to their father so he can get to work on time. They also share what little bread they have after their errand. The inspiring lessons about family love are what make this series more attractive.
Although “Cloud Bread” is a children’s book, the balanced combination of reality and fantasy attracts adult audiences as well. It is a tale for the entire family. Unique illustrations, imaginative storyline, and subtle moral underpinnings are the reasons why “Cloud Bread” won the Illustrator of the Year award at the 2005 Bologna Children’s Book Fair. It was also selected as one of the 100 greatest picture books of Korea at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2004 and 2005, and sold more than half a million volumes worldwide. It is even exported to seven countries – France, Japan, Taiwan, China, Germany, Norway, and Mexico – to plant the seeds of imagination in children everywhere.
The musical and animation versions of “Cloud Bread” are winning new admirers every day. Although these versions are based on the book, the producers have expanded the cast and named main characters to boost interest. Here’s Ms. Kim Hye-sun of Hansol Soo Book.
Hongbi is the elder sister and Hongshi is the younger brother. Hongbi is very curious, outgoing, and kind-hearted. It was Hongbi who first thought about taking the cloud bread to their father. Hongshi is a charming rascal with some brilliant ideas. He is in trouble a lot, but still remains lovable because he is cute. But the names Hongbi and Hongshi do not appear in the book, so those who only read the book get easily confused about the characters. The names were given when the story was turned into an animation series and more personalities were added to the characters. The animation series features more characters, like the uncle, their friends, and even a school teacher. All these cast members come with their own personality and charms.
In the animation show Hongbi and Hongshi fly up into the sky after eating their mother’s cloud bread. While in the air they fix damaged books for the library, look for missing laundry, and make ice cream for their friends. They are portrayed as kind and conscientious kitten siblings. In the show’s second season the curious feline pair lands on an island of dinosaurs and embarks on an exciting adventure.
The musical “Cloud Bread in Playground” plays up the fantastical aspects of the story with animated vegetables, talking animals, and flying contraception. It has attracted 300 thousand people nationwide, becoming the highest-grossing children’s musical in Korean history. The English version of the musical, dubbed an edu-entertaining performance for combining education and entertainment, has also become a big hit.
Twelve well-known English children’s songs are performed in the musical, inviting more involvement from the audience. The English “Cloud Bread in Playground” musical is in essence a jukebox musical, which uses previously released songs as its musical score. Here’s the musical’s director Park Sung-joon.
The difference between the Korean version of the musical “Cloud Bread in Playground” and its English version is that the Korean version is composed of Korean children’s songs, while the English version contains English songs. The story itself was well known in foreign countries too, so I thought about producing a foreign language version of the play as well. The imaginative storyline involving clouds and flying was attention-grabbing. I thought we could make a spectacular play with these elements.
The English musical version also features characters not seen in the original story. The raindrop siblings were added in the musical to bring the clouds to the kittens. Here’s the musical’s director Park Sung-joon again.
The main storyline of the book was simply making the cloud bread and taking the bread to their father. This short story contained the ideas of naturalism and environmentalism, which took on a more detailed form in the English musical version. The raindrop brother and sister in the musical make clouds and rainwater from them. Their cloud was the key ingredient for Hongshi and Hongbi’s cloud bread and the feline family’s love for one another.
Taking the piece of cloud from the children, the mother cat bakes cloud bread in the oven. A short while later, big, golden brown, scrumptious-looking cloud bread is completed.
Children in the audience delight at the sight of fluffy cloud bread. Hongbi and Hongshi take a bite out of the bread and ride the swings dropped down from the ceiling to fly up in the air. Children look on mesmerized as if they are floating up there next to the swings. And the audience cheers when Hongbi and Hongshi finally catch up with their father to give him the bread and the magical flying power.
Communication with the audience is important in a musical. So “Cloud Bread in Playground” invites the audience to join in an alphabet search, a Bingo game, and a sing-along.
“Cloud Bread in Playground” realizes children’s dream of flying and takes the audience back to their childhood. When the father cat flies in the air, children in the audience throw paper airplanes they folded before the performance began. Their hopes of flight glide toward the stage on the back of the paper planes.