From the Publisher
"Recalling Anno's classic journeys and the popular Waldo books (not to mention Lamorisse's Red Balloon), a wordless Dutch import invites readers to track a balloon's world travels. . . . Dematons's art is both handsome and engagingly colorful, and the offbeat juxtapositions and cleverly concealed stories add a lot of interest." --The Horn Book
"A delightful ride for armchair travelers."--Publishers Weekly
In the tradition of books that invite readers to locate tiny objects in big pictures, Dematons (Worry Bear) creates a wordless journey around the world in pursuit of a drifting yellow balloon. In the first of 16 full-bleed spreads, a man in a blue station wagon sets off on a vacation; the balloon sails aloft as he gasses up for the trip. Each successive spread shows the balloon soaring over a new part of the world: a European capital, the African savanna, the high seas, the rain forest. Dematons renders her minute scenes with dabs of color and small brushstrokes rather than depending on ink lines for tiny touches. Historical and geographical accuracy go the way of the yellow balloon: knights fight each other next door to bulldozers, and aircraft carriers surprise battling pirate galleons. Representations of foreign cultures conform to type: Hawaiian maidens do the hula, and Africans wearing masks dance near thatched huts. Novelty comes instead from legendary characters who pop up in unexpected places (e.g., Red Riding Hood meets the wolf near a forest; Santa Claus approaches his sleigh not far from the iceberg that has sunk the Titanic), and from subplots that continue across several panels. In the end, the yellow balloon is restored to its owner, while an Arabian man on a flying carpet, a convict and a truckful of giraffes who have entered the story along the way find safe harbor, too. A delightful ride for armchair travelers. All ages. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
It takes several readings of this clever book to take in all that is happening. A small yellow balloon lazily floats over land and sea not only across the world, but also in and out of time periods. The adventure, like the balloon, is not constrained by earthly tethers and is wild and imaginative. In one pastoral scene there are plenty of details to keep the viewer poring over the scene, to take it all in. A busy four-lane highway borders a quiet Flemish farm, nearby 19th century townspeople bury a loved one in a churchyard, on the far right of the page medieval knights fight a grueling battle, while slightly above them Native Americans greet an army officer on horseback, and Little Red Riding Hood is at the edge of the woods with the wolf lurking nearby. As the balloon flies over the North Pole Santa can be seen loading his sleigh, Shackleton and his men are setting up camp, Inuit are building an igloo, and a ship that looks suspiciously like the Titanic is heading for the deep. The full-page watercolor paintings are teeming with people and animals and it requires visual acuity to spot the yellow balloon. The truly observant will learn early on that there is a man on a flying carpet, a blue car, and a prisoner to be found on each page also. In the vain of Where's Waldo and the "I Spy" books, this global journey is a creative and fun filled voyage. 2004 (orig. 2003), Front Street & Lemniscaat, Ages all.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-This wordless picture book traces the journey of a rogue balloon as it is carried along from scene to scene. This format is similar to that of Jean Marzollo's "I Spy" books (Scholastic) and Martin Handford's "Where's Waldo" series (Candlewick), as children are challenged to find the tiny balloon, as well as other objects, in action-filled pictures. The aerial views are panoramic and the colors are breathtaking. Depicting many different parts of the world and many unique landscapes, the illustrations are imaginative and elaborate, and brimming with hundreds of captivating miniature details. At closer scrutiny, observers will see that Dematons combines images from various time periods: a truck is loaded with tomatoes while a short distance away, marauding warriors on horseback pillage a walled town. An escaped convict creeps from page to page, while a man wearing white robes and a turban travels on a magic carpet. With the artwork providing a springboard, opportunities for picture-inspired storytelling are unlimited. This stunning offering has broad appeal.-Corrina Austin, Locke's Public School, St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
A lost balloon leads a tiny SUV, and armchair tourists who are willing to follow, on a wordless, globe-spanning chase-through busy urban, rural, arctic, desert, mountain, savannah, tropical island, and spooky forest scenes, all seen in wide-angle aerial views. Dematons dissolves barriers of time and space, so that, for instance, on the ocean an aircraft carrier passes two wooden warships exchanging broadsides, while just across the gutter, dolphins sport, as a sea monster undulates past a cruise ship, a tattered voyager on a wooden raft, and a miniature Polynesian paradise. Rapt young viewers will find an array of similar mini-stories, along with the errant balloon and its pursuer, on every spread; despite an occasional bobble, such as a totem pole surrounded by teepees in one well-populated woodland, this elaboration of visual ideas proposed in the author's Let's Go (2001) makes an absorbing odyssey. (Picture book. 5-8)
What People are saying about this
From the Publisher
"Recalling Anno's classic journeys and the popular Waldo books (not to mention Lamorisse's Red Balloon), a wordless Dutch import invites readers to track a balloon's world travels. . . . Dematons's art is both handsome and engagingly colorful, and the offbeat juxtapositions and cleverly concealed stories add a lot of interest." The Horn Book
"A delightful ride for armchair travelers."Publishers Weekly
"This stunning offering has broad appeal."School Library Journal