TITLE: Emily's Balloon
AUTHOR + ILLUSTRATOR: Komako Sakai
PUBLISHED BY: Chronicle Books, 2006
"One afternoon, Emily got a balloon." Thus begins one of the loveliest books published in recent years. Written by Japanese author and illustrator Komako Sakai, this book has the simplicity of a haiku, and the grace of a fairy tale. Sakai's concise prose and charming illustrations are immediately accessible to young children.
The bright yellow balloon becomes Emily's faithful friend and companion. They have tea together and she makes daisy crowns for them both. When a gust of wind carries the balloon into the tree in the yard, Emily is distraught and lonely. But, going to bed with her mother's promises of getting the balloon in the morning, Emily looks out the window to the dark night sky, and sees the bright yellow balloon waiting for her, and watching over her, like the moon.
This gentle story completely captivated my boss' 4 year-old daughter, C; not only did she look a bit like little Emily, but she also had played in a similar way with a ball or balloon, and was thrilled to see someone else do the same. Her eyes were wide as I was reading it, and when I was done she had her own story to tell. Simple, graceful, and a little wistful, this is a winning book for any library.
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Reading notes: good for 2-4 year olds. with peaceful and lovely prose, this is excellent read aloud. The illustrations are very simple, but I think a child could really come to treasure this book and loose himself in it.