Emily's Balloon
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Emily's Balloon

5.0 2
by Komako Sakai
     
 

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One day, Emily gets a balloon. By the end of the afternoon, the balloon is no longer just a plaything—Emily and the balloon are friends. But when the balloon blows away, what will Emily do? Sweet, compelling, and filled with beautifully evocative illustrations, the timeless innocence of a story about the wonder and discovery of friendship makes this

Overview

One day, Emily gets a balloon. By the end of the afternoon, the balloon is no longer just a plaything—Emily and the balloon are friends. But when the balloon blows away, what will Emily do? Sweet, compelling, and filled with beautifully evocative illustrations, the timeless innocence of a story about the wonder and discovery of friendship makes this deceptively simple book a classic.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A tale of a common childhood experience, tenderly and sweetly told." - School Library Journal "

The brevity of text combined with relatively simple illustrations make this tale perfectly suited to a toddler's interest, working well for either cozy shared storytime or for larger groups during read-aloud sessions." -Kirkus Reviews"

With its soft charcoal outlines, three-color images and matte pages, Japanese author-artist Sakai's book looks as if it could have been published in the early '60s, yet her theme is timeless. The measured pacing of the text and roomy spreads evoke a more leisurely era. Emily, a toddler with short hair and gray overalls, has trouble holding onto her yellow helium-filled balloon, until her mother (who wears a skirt and high heels) wisely ties it to a spoon ("Look! It floats, but it doesn't fly away!"). Emily and the balloon share a happy afternoon in the garden, picking flowers and making matching leafy crowns, until a gust blows the balloon up into a tree, and it stays there. "We wanted to eat together," the text reads, as Emily sits at the table in tears, imagining supper and then bedtime with her new friend. Sakai smoothly moves from Emily's thoughts to her words, always keeping readers in the heroine's mindset. Tucked into bed, Emily finds she can see the balloon from her window: "There it was, nestled in the tree. It looked just like the moon." Sakai's quiet voice represents loss as small children experience it: sometimes, she seems to say, although we can't have what we love close to us, they are still there-just like the moon. A dog-eared favorite in the making." -Publishers Weekly, starred review "

One afternoon, Emily got a balloon." From this straightforward first line follows a picture book imported from Japan that perfectly reflects a very young child's worldview. Toddler Emily's balloon comes home with her and, tied to a spoon, floats at just the right height for companionship. The two friends play until a gust of wind sends the balloon up into a tree, where, to Emily's dismay, it gets stuck. Even so, it provides a reassuring presence outside Emily's window all night, "just like the moon." Soft pencil-and-wash sketches, all in grays and browns except for the bright yellow balloon, reinforce the child-centered feel of the book as they focus squarely on Emily's attachment to her balloon friend. For all their simplicity, the illustrations are remarkably expressive, particularly at capturing a toddler's body language. Sakai's minimal text segues fluidly and coherently from an omniscient narrator's voice to that of Emily's mother and even Emily herself and is nicely matter-of-fact, never condescending nor sentimental in its acceptance of object as friend. The lack of an adult filter on child experience is refreshing and effective." -The Horn Book, starred review

"One afternoon, Emily got a balloon." A small thing, perhaps, but not in the eyes of this winsome toddler. Spare text and soulful, charcoal-hued drawings capture the wonder Emily feels as she discovers her new friend's power to float to the ceiling ("uh-oh") and share daisy crowns and tea parties with her. Tears flow when the wind maroons Emily's bright-yellow buddy up a tree one evening-but, luckily, help is on the way. From Japan, this gentle tale honors the joy young children take in life's smallest pleasures. (Ages 2 to 4)
Child magazine's Best Children's Book Awards 2006
Publishers Weekly
With its soft charcoal outlines, three-color images and matte pages, Japanese author-artist Sakai's book looks as if it could have been published in the early '60s, yet her theme is timeless. The measured pacing of the text and roomy spreads evoke a more leisurely era. Emily, a toddler with short hair and gray overalls, has trouble holding onto her yellow helium-filled balloon, until her mother (who wears a skirt and high heels) wisely ties it to a spoon ("Look! It floats, but it doesn't fly away!"). Emily and the balloon share a happy afternoon in the garden, picking flowers and making matching leafy crowns, until a gust blows the balloon up into a tree, and it stays there. "We wanted to eat together," the text reads, as Emily sits at the table in tears, imagining supper and then bedtime with her new friend. Sakai smoothly moves from Emily's thoughts to her words, always keeping readers in the heroine's mindset. Tucked into bed, Emily finds she can see the balloon from her window: "There it was, nestled in the tree. It looked just like the moon." Sakai's quiet voice represents loss as small children experience it: sometimes, she seems to say, although we can't have what we love close to us, they are still there-just like the moon. A dog-eared favorite in the making. Ages 1-5. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-While out for a walk, Emily's mother buys a yellow helium-filled balloon, which she ties to her daughter's finger for safekeeping. Once home, she attaches the string to Emily's spoon so the new plaything will float within the child's reach. The child plays with her toy in the house and garden, and when a breeze blows it into a tree, she is heartbroken. After her mother promises to retrieve the wayward balloon in the morning, Emily must be content to observe her portly friend safe in the tree, glowing like the moon and watching over her. The yellow balloon and its blue string stand out in a simple color palette of white, gray, and tan with a few accents of red. The illustrations, rendered in watercolor and charcoal, are placed on tan pages and surrounded by unadorned thin, round-edged black frames. A tale of a common childhood experience, tenderly and sweetly told.-Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Author and illustrator Sakai's gracefully executed tale illuminates the pure joy with which toddlers embrace even the most ordinary occurrences. In this simply worded story about a young girl and her new balloon, Sakai tracks Emily's interactions with the balloon, which-with the swiftness of youthful affections-rapidly transforms into a devoted and loving relationship. When her beloved balloon escapes its anchor and gets tangled in a tree, Emily is heartbroken. However, she soon finds solace in its steadfast and benevolent presence outside her window. While Sakai hones her narrative into sparsely worded text, her eloquently rendered illustrations convey a richly emotional story. The framed sketches rely only on a small sampling of hues to enrich the characters, while the backgrounds are devoid of much detail. Yet, each vignette resonates with feeling thanks to Sakai's deft artistry and expressiveness imbued in the drawings. The brevity of text combined with relatively simple illustrations make this tale perfectly suited to a toddler's interest, working well for either cozy shared storytime or for larger groups during read-aloud sessions. (Picture book. 1-5)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780811852197
Publisher:
Chronicle Books LLC
Publication date:
02/23/2006
Pages:
44
Sales rank:
560,022
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 10.25(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
1 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Komako Sakai lives in Japan, and studied art in Tokyo. She worked in textile design before beginning to illustrate children's books. She is the winner of the Japanese Picture Book Prize.

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Emily's Balloon 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was really adorable, the story was beautifully drawn and was simple enough to let the young readers follow along. Emily is a very simple and loveable character also. My children loved it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The story and illustrations are absolutely beautiful and charming...what a wonderful story. I bought this book for my daughter and since have bought three more copies as gifts. This book should become a classic. Wonderful Book-Five Stars