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The Cloud Collector's Handbook

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  429 ratings  ·  43 reviews
The perfect incentive for keeping your head in the clouds, The Cloud Collector's Handbook is a whimsical guide to the wonders of the sky. Throughout, author and cloud expert Gavin Pretor-Pinney catalogs a variety of clouds and gives readers points for spotting them and recording their finds. This fun and useful book features gorgeous full-color photographs that showcase a ...more
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published June 11th 2009 by Sceptre
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Cloud collecting is my favorite hobby. I've always enjoyed watch the clouds, always considered myself a bit of a wonderbug, and have always had more pictures of clouds than people on my camera. Then one day when I was researching a supernumerary rainbow I had seen I came across the Cloud Appreciation Society, and subsequently, this book. Its forever changed the way I look at clouds. I've learned so much more about the different types, and the acquisition of bonus points for collecting is both ...more
Nov 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I was meant to find and buy this book.
I've been a cloud/sky appreciator for years, but it never crossed my mind that there is a Cloud Appreciation Society, a book about clouds and even different genera of clouds!
A Fallstreak hole, with a Circumhorizon arc

Mountain with a pink "cap"

It was great to find out a bit more about my hobby and it is a book I can re-read again and again.
Besides, there is now a guide that can help me identify the beautiful clouds I see and photograph.
Definitely recommend to
This handy little guide offers a fun way to look at the heavens - clouds. With photographs of different cloud formations to help you identify types of clouds, this field guide will have you searching the sky for each kind. (Gavin Pretor-Pinney assigns point values to each of the cloud types/species, so you can rack up a nice score as you collect.) Cool concept. Wish there was an app available that you could use to id cloud types (i.e. take a photo and have it tell you what you're looking at). ...more
May 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
A very lovely book that I wish I could afford to purchase, instead of get from the library. I say this because the book is set up so that you can keep notes on which clouds you've seen where - collect them, basically! As I am a birder, this aspect of "listing" clouds appeals to me. I can go birdwatching and cloudwatching at the same time! Keep a yard list of clouds, just like I do birds! A ferry list! An airplane list! Travel list! Oooo, cloud twitchers?

I wish there were more photos of each
Jun 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Tried from the library. 6 year old loves it and brings it everywhere. We're ordering a copy! It's great fun to spot different clouds - like looking for ever-changing constellations during the day!

The book is small, hardbound, "pocket" sized.
Reinier Vos
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant guide! Very nice to get to know all the clouds. Beautiful pictures and fun descriptions with your nice touch of British humor. Gamifies my interest in clouds. Also takes into account the upper atmospheric clouds such as noctilucent and nacreous, and touches upon cloud features such as halo's. I love it!
Sep 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Awesome! This is definitely not the kind of book you'd read straight through, but it's a great reference for when you're looking in the sky and wondering what you're looking at. I keep bringing it out to get some background info about the amazing fall clouds we're seeing in Portland right now.

The pictures are amazing, and it gives you a lot of information in a very accessible way. I have NO background knowledge about sky or weather patterns or anything, but the book all makes sense to me.
Sep 01, 2011 is currently reading it
Especially handy for a trip through the Southwest or out Midwest or out East in the summertime. Amusingly written, less dry than most field guides, and you get to add up points for the clouds you see. Covers the banal cloud ("It feels wrong to devote as much space to the rather drab and featureless Altostratus...few cloudspotters will be seen to punch the air and high-five upon adding this one...) to the breathtaking Stratocumulus Lenticularis.
Mar 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Few people can geek out like my good man Gavin Pretor-Pinney, and I am for sure thankful that for every book that he puts out. His book on waves (traffic waves, ocean waves, light waves, all kinds of waves) is one of my favorite books of all time. And his previous book on clouds shows the art available to every human being on the earth –clouds! This is a companion piece, and light as it is, it can travel with us everywhere there are clouds – which is everywhere.
Oct 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Comprehensive to the point and page turning. Photos are magnificent. I know I will be referring to this book quite frequently as my kids and I are tracking weather phenomena for a year. I like Ganin Pretor-Pinney's writing style and I like the humor he throws in. Covers not just meterological, but optical, genera, accessory, supplimentary, and other. Helps are fantastic and point system is very fun. A great addition to the other books in my meterological library.
Post Defiance
Originally posted at, written by Sweet Pea Flaherty.

This book is filled with every magical thing a cloud has ever done.Nature-lovers of all ages will become cloud connoisseurs and have a place to transcribe every wonder discovered.
Ms. Arca
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I’ve already got 3 clouds collected and counting ! This one is staying in my bag. I’m officially on my way to becoming a cloud nerd (this book is perfectly compact, informative, and fun.. to me anyways;). I do wish they provided a few more pictures of examples of each type of cloud (like the different species within one cloud type), as well as a little more information about the cloud types.. but mostly, that’s if I was being openly picky. Great concept and the new book that’s always with
Justin Norman
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quick, light, but informative and beautiful read

A nice introduction to different types of clouds and the weather conditions which cause them to form. Filled with beautiful photography and a fair amount of humor. However, the author’s other book, A Cloud a Day, covers pretty much everything in this book, plus a ton more. If you have to pick one, choose the other.
Mary Keen
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Heard an NPR interview with the author.

Then, after checking it out from the library, i ordered myself a used copy to have as a reference --as an adjunct to an excellent pocket guide i already have --Clouds and Storms, from Nat Audubon Society.

Wonderful photographs, easy to find, along with useful information.

Gerda Leek
Dec 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Informational; good photographs
Dec 20, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, field-guide
everyone should have something they enjoy doing. it can be observing a bird, clouds, or nature. it’s much more cheaper and healthier than collecting physical things. no matter how simple it is, just enjoy yourself!
Cathy Cole
May 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've never been accused of having my head in the clouds, but I should have been because it's one of my favorite things to do-- especially during the summer here in the Sonoran Desert. I knew all the different types of clouds had names, but didn't know them past cumulus and cirrus. When I stumbled across The Cloud Collector's Handbook, I knew I had to have a copy; I'm the type of person who likes to know the names of things.

This little hardcover is broken into five basic chapters: Ten Main Cloud
Jan 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
I thought this book was really cute and have already started my own personal collection. The handbook has information about various types of clouds and how to identify them. It starts with 10 basic cloud types and then expands to include variations and other atmospheric effects.

Each entry has a description of the cloud and related types, pictures, names and references to similar cloud species and a block to record information about your collection. The collection space has blanks for date,
Feb 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Fun and quirky and I find it hilarious that it references Mr. Trump's comb-over. What I find distracting is all of the "don't mistake this cloud for that cloud" references. I find myself looking upwards and think I see "cloud A" but according to the book it might really be "cloud B" so I second guess all of my observations and am now afraid to write anything down as far as "collecting points" goes. A section in the book describing the subtle differences between cloud formations and how to ...more
Nov 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nature/sky buffs
Shelves: non-fiction
I live on one of the 5 Great Lakes, so I see a variety of clouds every week. This is an easy reference guide which pointed out to me that one phenomenon I saw under a cloud below a rainbow was a rarity observed @ 25 times yearly (not the sundog I was told). "Twas a Circumzenithal arc, like a loopy clown's smile. I now consult this more frequently: glad it is on my very portable Kindle for lakeside walks or trips to SW mtns.!
Eric S
May 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Quite a good introduction -- manageable categories with memorable illustrations. Since my work is affected by weather, having some understanding of clouds (and fluid dynamics generally) is both useful and just interesting.

My big complaint is the near-total lack of metric...but I went ahead and fixed that.

The real win, though -- why I like this book so much -- is that it untangled clouds for me in clear, enjoyable and conversational prose. A very fun book.
Linda A
Nov 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It has photographs and descriptions to make it easy to identify what you're looking at. I keep it in my car so it's handy when I'm out and about, in the mountains, on a ferry, at the waterfront, wherever. It has spaces for you to write down when and where you spotted any of them. I usually only note the rare ones. Fun to share with family members of all generations.
Carol Jean
Jul 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Great book -- I had NO IDEA people actually "collected" cloud sightings. Clear, includes excellent photos, and is quite amusing and informative.
Dec 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Another great cloud identification guide, for those days when you can just stare at the sky...
Jan 21, 2013 rated it really liked it

You will never look at the sky the same. Beautiful illustrations, text is informative, readable, entertaining and even humorous.
Steve Mitchell
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
A book that helps with the cloudspotting and gives points if you should spot one
Apr 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, weather
It is worth one and awhile lower your eyes from space to the clouds, it is amazing how wonderful shapes there can be found.
Dave Schumacher
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"The perfect incentive for keeping your head in the clouds" is the opening line. I couldn't agree more!
Marianna Monaco
Dec 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: weather
A good handbook for cloudspotters.
Aug 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Different cloud formations pictured & described for identification purposes
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Gavin Pretor-Pinney is cofounder of The Idler magazine in England and founded of The Cloud Appreciation Society in 2005.