A very well-mannered balloon,"" James' parents say about his big new blue one with the pirate's face--just because it doesn't ask for ice cream before dinner's over or do jumpies in bed, as James does. But after James' parents go to bed, the balloon goes on an ill-mannered rampage, eating up not only all the food in the house but the toaster, stove, table and everything else in the kitchen as well. James at last destroys the balloon by feeding it a pin cushion, whereupon it bursts and everything it has eaten tumbles out and back into place--before James' fantasy has really had a chance to cut loose. . . . Perhaps the author is too well-mannered. And if her story is a little too much like a psych book example, the Shekerjians' utilitarian blue and black pictures make even the surreal scenes look like diagrams of how toasters work.