I Have A Balloon
Owl has a balloon. Monkey does not. What will happen next? Hint: this is not a book about sharing.
Let's make a deal.
Owl has a bright beautiful shiny red balloon. Monkey does not—but oh, how he wants Owl's. Owl does not want to give it to Monkey. So he tries to find something that Owl wants: a teddy bear, a robot, a picture of TEN balloons. Owl does not want any of these things. But then, Monkey offers him…a sock!
Hmmmmm…Owl is intrigued thanks to Monkey's compelling sock sales pitch. Will Monkey strike his deal with Owl and will they make their trade?
I love author Ariel Bernstein's fresh look at negotiation and compromise—I think you and your young readers will too.
★ "Bernstein’s debut featuring an owl holding a balloon begins with a spoiler alert on the jacket flap: 'This is NOT a book about sharing.'
It is, however, an honest, humorous depiction of how one might cling to or covet possessions—behaviors that both children and adults will recognize . . . Magoon’s digital caricatures provide the emotional content that will elicit identification and laughter. His funky monkey and staid owl are entertaining foils, and the would-be trader’s pratfalls recall Warner Bros. cartoons . . . With an open-ended, wordless conclusion inviting predictions and possibilities, this tightly paced narrative soars above its message-driven counterparts." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
★ "An owl and a monkey confront jealousy, the fickleness of want, and the influence of other perspectives in this high-energy story from debut author Bernstein and illustrator Magoon (I Will Not Eat You). . . Written entirely in dialogue, Bernstein’s story never diverts focus from the characters’ id-driven wants. Magoon’s digital illustrations slyly reflect the changing power structure—Monkey spends much of the book on the forest floor, looking up at Owl, but they swap positions when Monkey’s sock becomes the object of desire—while bringing big laughs through pratfalls and other physical comedy." —Publisher’s Weekly, starred review.
"The illustrations of the two main characters are simple but animated, especially Monkey. He has a hard time hanging onto a branch by his tail, soars up to the sky with his robot, and looks cool in a fez and sunglasses. Even though the message of sharing is absent, this is still an amusing option for all. VERDICT A definite purchase that will be checked out again and again." —School Library Journal, Barbara Spiri, Southborough Library, MA
"The allure of other folks’ stuff will be well understood by the audience, and both Monkey’s histrionic arguments and Owl’s smug refusals are cleverly captured in Magoon’s expressive cartoon critters. The dialogue is perfectly tuned for a two-voice readaloud, and much of the vocabulary is easy enough that one of those voices could be a novice reader. The book never suggests sharing as a possible solution to this perennial problem, but maybe you don’t need to share if everyone’s content with what they have." —EB, Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
- A Junior Library Guild selection for Fall 2017.
- Nominated for a 2017 Cybils Award. Thank you Jenna!
- Society of Illustrators The Original Art 2017 juried show acceptance.
- Youth Services Book Review gave it ★★★★★! Check out their spirited review here.
- Read a thoughtful and inspiring interview with author Ariel Bernstein by Hannah Barnaby.
- Cathy Ballou Mealey wrote an uplifting blog entry about it here—balloon activity and sock puppet ideas as well.
- Celebrate Picture Books blog floated this high-flying review for "Balloons Around the World" Day.
- We had a very cool cover reveal and an author/illustrator interview over at All the Wonders.
This guide (download here) is designed for students in kindergarten through third grade. It is assumed that teachers will adapt each activity to fit the needs and abilities of their own students. It offers activities to help teachers integrate I HAVE A BALLOON across the curricula. All activities were created in conjunction with the Common Core and other relevant content standards. Special thanks to Marcie Colleen who created this guide!
On Social Media
I visited London and launched the #londoonballoon photo tour! And then, author Ariel Bernstein lifted off with her own Paris photo tour!
This is definitely not a book about sharing. 😉 . Scott Magoon illustrates Ariel Bernstein's dialogue-driven story about how we tend to act with our favorite possessions, and how quickly our perspectives can shift about them. . So much of the story and its gestalt are conveyed through the pictures and the dramatic changes in scene from spread to spread. Readers will linger over the pages to ponder Owl and Monkey's fluctuating states of emotion and intention, along with the mix of subtle sideway glances, sly humor and hilarious antics. A home run read-aloud. 👏🏼 . I Have a Balloon was written by Ariel Bernstein (@arielbbooks), illustrated by Scott Magoon (@skortch) and published by Paula Wiseman Books (@simonkids). Out on September 26! 🎈
On the Road
Behind the Scenes
Here are some development sketches I created while working on I Have a Balloon. Click on the thumbnails to expand and read more about each.