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MY RED BALLOON by Eve Bunting


by Eve Bunting & illustrated by Kay Life

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 1-59078-263-1
Publisher: Boyds Mills

Bunting captures the tension, fear, anxiety and release in a small boy whose father is coming home from a Navy tour. He and his mom are going to meet the ship, and he is carrying a heart-shaped red balloon that says “welcome home” on it. His mother reassures him that she has told his father what to look for in the crowd. However, in all of the confusion, the balloon breaks loose and the little boy, in whose first-person voice the story is told, cries and is sure his Daddy won’t know him. But of course, his dad does, watching the balloon float up to the ship and looking down to his wife and child. The straightforward language is pitched perfectly and Life’s naturalistic, warm-hued watercolors are reassuring. Sailors and their families—both genders, many ages and ethnicities—populate the pages along with the blond, blue-eyed boy and equally fair parents. Not sentimental but full of sentiment. (Picture book. 4-8)