A mouse follows a red balloon far afield.
“Aberdeen didn’t mean to leave the yard. / BUT a balloon floated by, so he followed it.” The yard is an expanse of white space with just a touch of green grass; the tempting balloon floats upward, partly leaving the page. In pursuit, Aberdeen jumps, stands on one front paw, and stretches up. “He didn’t mean to dig up his neighbor’s flowers. / BUT the balloon flew into their yard, so he burrowed under the fence.” Catching up, he drapes himself over the balloon for a smiling snooze. But it tugs upward, snagging Aberdeen by his tail and carrying him away. This luscious, orange-tinted red balloon sticks around for only half the story, but Aberdeen’s inadvertent mishaps continue. He passes crickets and falls into mud. He splashes in a puddle. Previn’s watercolor artwork deftly balances airy white space with spot illustrations and full spreads highlighting greens and browns. Leaves and tree trunks are damply rich, like nature; lush red, orange, and pink flowers use the underlying watercolor paper for the petals’ soft texture. An owl and a darkening sky threaten, but this little mouse is resourceful. So’s his mother, who arrives to rescue and comfort—and chide a little.
A full day in the vast outdoors—sumptuous, breezy, unintentional, and the tiniest bit thoughtless, at least according to mom. (Picture book. 3-6)