The 1967 Children’s Book Inspired By Phish’s Trey Anastasio

What Does The Cloud Do? was authored by his grandma with pictures drawn by his grandpa.

By Andy Kahn Sep 30, 2023 8:16 am PDT

Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio celebrates his 59th birthday today. As one of the leading improvisational rock ‘n’ roll guitarists of the past 40 years, Anastasio’s guitar playing and songwriting has no doubt inspired many others to engage in their own artistic endeavors.

While most would pin the early-1980s as the time when a young Trey Anastasio became an artistic inspirational figure as Phish rose in popularity from a college band to national touring juggernaut, it was several years prior when he served as a the primary inspiration for a significant artistic project. At just 3 years old, Trey was the model for the lead character in the 1967 children’s book, What Does The Cloud Do?.

Anastasio’s grandmother Jean Kinney authored the book that featured illustrations by Trey’s grandfather Cle Kinney. The educational children’s book was one in a three-part series the couple published including What Does The Sun Do? and What Does The Tide Do?, each basing a main character on a different grandson.

What Does The Cloud Do? tells a fictional story of little red-headed Trey visiting visiting Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state, which was informed by a real-life visit to his grandparents farm in Connecticut.

Here’s a description of the book from the inside jacket cover:

Trey, a little boy with an inquiring turn of mind, spends a day in the mountains for the first time, and with the help of a forest ranger becomes fascinated with changes in the weather. When he first goes outside in the morning, Trey is surrounded by fog, which he learns is really a cloud on the ground.

When the fog lifts, he looks out across the valley and sees mist rising into the air. Later in the day, he observes a cloud in the sky grow bigger and bigger until it begins to rain. From these observations, Trey learns that all day the heat of the sun is warming waterdrops in fog, puddles, lakes, and streams until they rise into the air to form clouds which eventually will return to the earth in the form of rain, snow, sleet or hail.

Handsomely illustrated in four colors, this book contributes significantly toward clarifying the basic concepts of the water cycle. What Does The Cloud Do? is one of three science concept books for children by the same author. All three books demonstrate how observation as a basis for further inquiry can extend a child’s understanding of his world.

While little Trey observes various components of the water cycle, he does not see any turtles in the clouds. Looking back, it does seem fitting though, that even at age 3, Trey inspired a book about a fog that surrounds, mountains in the mist and water in the sky.

Check out What Does The Cloud Do? below:

Anastasio performed at Madison Square Garden in New York City last night, joining Tedeschi Trucks Band at their second Garden Party concert. Norah Jones and Lukas Nelson also sat in with TTB at MSG.

Anastasio performs a special birthday set tonight with the Trey Anastasio Band at the Sound On Sound music festival in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Phish Fall Tour 2023 then begins on Friday, October 6 in Nashville.

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