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THE DAY RAY GOT AWAY by Angela Johnson


by Angela Johnson & illustrated by Luke LaMarca

Age Range: 2 - 5

Pub Date: Sept. 7th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-689-87375-1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

A huge yellow parade balloon manages to slip his tether and elude his handlers. Seen partially, big grin in place, Ray’s sunny yellow roundness peeks through windows, at the edges of the frames and from behind buildings. Bright colors and cartoon illustration add to a feeling of celebration and wildly cheerful chaos as the parade is interrupted by Ray’s unexpected escape. "It was rare for a balloon like Ray, / who had been good for years,  / to decide that ‘today was the day.' " Johnson's lyrically reportorial, enigmatic text offers no answers, just a slyly subversive account of the shenanigans. "That day the parade was a disaster: / clowns everywhere, / bands backed up downtown, / ... / paper flowers as far as the eye could see, / ... and Ray, / shining bright, smiling (he always did)." There’s plenty to talk about: What kind of balloon is Ray? What is going to happen? Some may wish for a back story—or to know what happens to Ray as he continues sedately skyward—but small listeners who occasionally tire of holding hands every time they go out may find Ray’s boldness thrilling and poetically liberating. (Picture book. 2-5)