Age Range: 3 to 6
The Story: Molly O’Doon ties a note to her red balloon and lets it loose to see who will find it. It floats up and away and over the town until the sun goes down. It floats all night, over the water and then lands in Katie’s garden. Katie has just moved house and when she reads the note she realises that Molly lives just two doors away from her so she runs round to Molly’s to meet her.
The red balloon finds Molly a new friend in a delightful twist at the end of this beautifully illustrated, rhyming story. As the balloon travels through the book the rhyming couplets undulate which gives the impression of the balloon floating and the rhymes are supported by the detail in Maria Bogade’s wonderfully whimsical illustrations. My daughter finds the aerial view of the streets and houses fascinating and she loves looking at all the little houses that line the harbour. There is a lot of white space on each page and the pictures are splashes of colour added to the line drawn, predominantly black and white, illustrations. The exceptions are the beautiful sunrise and nighttime scenes, they are more colourful with a lovely yellow sun setting over a sailboat and a dark blue scene with the balloon floating through the night.
I can imagine using The Lost (and Found) Balloon in the classroom as a stimulus for children to write their own rhymes to describe the balloon’s journey. They could also write their own notes to tie to a balloon and send them (if this is not prohibited by law in your area). Another interesting activity to do with young children would be to put a series of objects on a table and ask them to draw them from above. I have done this with a class of seven year olds, they found it quite difficult to draw what they saw, they couldn’t move away from drawing the object from a more familiar angle.
The Lost (and Found) Balloon was the winner of the 5th Cheerios new author contest.
Author: Celeste Jenkins / Illustrator: Maria Bogade