Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Yellow Balloon

The Yellow Balloon

Charlotte Dematons
Worldless Picture Book
For ages 3 and up
Front Street, 2004   ISBN: 1932425012

A yellow balloon drifts across the blue sky. It is as if we are that yellow balloon,  floating above the world and looking down at wondrous places and people, animals and plants, man-made wonders and wonders from nature. We can also see a few things that belong in the world of the imagination.  
 The first double-page spread shows us the world of the sky. Among other things there are birds, planes, a hot-air balloon, and a rocket. Best of all perhaps are a pair of witches zooming past on their brooms complete with black cats and pointed hats.
   We then drift on to see a town lying beneath us. Full of color and movement, extraordinary details, and a few surprises, this picture could keep the reader busy for a long time.
   Next there is the serene countryside. And yet, maybe it is not so serene, for there is a castle under attack, and there are some Indians in a field who may be on the warpath.
   Now we are in the mountains. Skiers, an erupting volcano, and a Tibetan monastery vie for our attention.
   In this remarkable book, Charlotte Sematons gives us twelve double-page spreads to enjoy. The detail used in the illustrations is a wonder. We see so many 'stories' taking place beneath us that we don't really notice that there is  no text to go with the pictures. Throughout the book, certain characters pop up in the most unlikely places and they are old friends by the time we reach the final pages. Across each vista floats that yellow balloon, our guide to the world and all its beauties, both real and imagined.