A day in the life of a girl, her animal friends and her special red balloon.
Starting at the bus stop where the little girl stands waiting, this sparsely worded book traces the day. Though she is the lone passenger on the bus, she is not lonely. When the bus stops for the purse-carrying brown bear, the girl excitedly shows the balloon to the bear—but loses it out the window. The bus follows the balloon, stopping to pick up various animal friends along the way to help with the search. Naïve, childlike illustrations invite readers to look for the balloon, which hides behind a tree, floats out of the frame, dangles from a cloud and reappears in the mountains. When a black bird pops it, the girl’s sadness cannot be assuaged until the friends find the balloon, reborn as something new. Young readers will enjoy finding the heart-shaped tree, multicolored clover plants, bus-stop signs that change with the riders and a Popsicle-eating penguin. The illustrator’s use of the horizon line keeps the focus on the trip, and each page turn reveals just how long a journey this is. The muted paintings have a flat, folk-art feel that adds to the warm tone of the story. The children of modern, worry-filled parents will find this girl’s solo adventure on the bus inspiring.
This buoyant tale elegantly conveys the sustaining gift of friendship. (Picture book. 3-6)