I Have a Balloon by Ariel Bernstein (review)
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Reviewed by
Bernstein, Ariel I Have a Balloon; illus. by Scott Magoon. Wiseman/Simon, 2017 [34p]
Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-7250-0 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-7251-7 $10.99
Reviewed from galleys R 3-6 yrs

Owl has a balloon. Monkey wants it. The more Monkey admires that balloon, the more tightly Owl hangs on to it. Monkey proposes any number of trades, but neither teddy bears nor sunflowers nor robots hold currency. Monkey’s sock, though . . . Owl thinks a sock with a red star and a perfect-sized hole has possibilities, noting happily that you can wear a sock on your tail or foot or hand or ear; you can make it into a puppet and play. Monkey reconsiders the marvels of said sock and he realizes what a gem he already possesses; just as Owl accedes to the deal, Monkey calls it off. The two agree that Owl can keep his balloon and Monkey will keep his holey footwear—but then Lemur appears with an enticing ice cream cone, and viewers can supply an ensuing chapter to this story. The allure of other folks’ stuff will be well understood by the audience, and both Monkey’s histrionic arguments and Owl’s smug refusals are cleverly captured in Magoon’s expressive cartoon critters. The dialogue is perfectly tuned for a two-voice readaloud, and much of the vocabulary is easy enough that one of those voices could be a novice reader. The book never suggests sharing as a possible solution to this perennial problem, but maybe you don’t need to share if everyone’s content with what they have. [End Page 6]

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