High in the Clouds

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High in the Clouds
First edition
AuthorPaul McCartney
Philip Ardagh
IllustratorGeoff Dunbar
CountryUnited States
PublisherFaber and Faber
Publication date
Pages96 pp

High in the Clouds is a children's adventure novel written by musician/songwriter Paul McCartney and Philip Ardagh, illustrated by Geoff Dunbar, and published by Faber and Faber in October 2005.[1][2] As writer/producer and animator/director, McCartney and Dunbar had collaborated on the 1984 animated film Rupert and the Frog Song, and High in the Clouds was scripted and sketched for several years by the two of them as another film.[2]


When the characters' home, Woodland, is attacked by human development, a young squirrel (Wirral) is left without a home and without his mother. Guided by his mother's final words and aided by his fellow animal friends he meets on his journey, Wirral goes on a quest for the secret island sanctuary of Animalia. Wirral finds himself in an epic journey filled with evil realities and wild dreams. He and his friends experience tragedy, war, joy and victory, all in the name of freedom and peace.


The book has an overall theme of preserving nature and letting animals live free and in their natural habitat. In The Observer it was described as "a tale about the perils of unchecked global capitalism".[2]

Film adaptation[edit]

In 2013, it was reported that an animated feature film adaptation of the book was in development by producers Michael Lynne and Bob Shaye through their Unique Features banner and RGH Entertainment. Tony Bancroft was set to direct the film, written by Josh Klausner, and was originally going to have a theatrical release in 2015.[3] The film was optioned by Gaumont.[4] In 2019, it was announced Netflix had partnered up with Gaumont to co-produce.[5] Jon Croker has written the script[6] and Timothy Reckart would replace Bancroft as director[7] while former Beatle singer and author Paul McCartney serves as executive producer and songwriter, of which he composed original songs and score for the film.[7][8] In October 2023, Netflix dropped their involvement, reverting the film back to an independent production with Toby Genkel replacing Reckart as director, and Michael Giacchino re-composing the score. The film's production will initiate around early 2024 and is expected to release around early 2026.[9]


  1. ^ "High in the Clouds - Paul McCartney Official Website". Paulmccartney.com. Retrieved 30 October 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Merritt, Stephanie (17 December 2005). "It took him years to write ...: Stephanie Merritt takes a look at Paul McCartney's anti-capitalist children's book, High in the Clouds". The Observer. Retrieved 30 October 2013.
  3. ^ McNary, Dave (30 September 2013). "Paul McCartney's 'High In The Clouds' Heading for Big Screen". Variety. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  4. ^ Robb, David (20 April 2017). "Gaumont Boards Paul McCartney's Animated Film 'High In The Clouds'". Deadline. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  5. ^ "Netflix Teams With Gaumont To Adapt Paul McCartney Book 'High In The Clouds' Into An Animated Film". Deadline Hollywood. 10 December 2019.
  6. ^ "Paul McCartney's 'High in the Clouds' Signs up Jon Croker to Write". Deadline Hollywood. 9 January 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Paul McCartney Teams With Netflix on 'High in the Clouds' Animated Feature". The Hollywood Reporter. 10 December 2019. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  8. ^ "McCartney To Score Animated Film Based On Children's Book". Rolling Stone. 17 June 2019. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  9. ^ Donnelly, Matt (26 October 2023). "Paul McCartney's Gaumont-Backed Animated Film 'High in the Clouds' Sets Director, Writer and More (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 26 October 2023.

External links[edit]