Review: The Big Wet Balloon by Liniers
The Big Wet Balloon
In Stores September 10, 2013
Not every sibling relationship is fraught with resentment. Scanning the children’s literature landscape, however, you might forget this is the case. Lately, at least, the reluctant brother or sister seems like the norm. Argentinian cartoonist Liniers goes in another direction. A simple, funny slice of life, The Big Wet Balloon succeeds by effectively depicting a sibling relationship and the joys of a child’s world. A story of young sisters on an everyday adventure.
IT’S SATURDAY!!! This level of excitement is how big sister Matilda approaches the freedom and endless promise a Saturday can hold. She can’t wait to show her little sister, Clemmie, how to make the most of the day. It’s raining, but that’s an adventure in itself. Matilda coaxes Clemmie into the downpour. Eventually the sun comes out, bringing a rainbow. Matilda is moved to send a gift to the heavens – but the gift doesn’t belong to her – it’s Clemmie’s prized red balloon.
The idea of giving a gift to a rainbow is, for lack of a better phrase, a total kid move. Liniers takes this moment of blind exuberance and turns it into a fitting way to close the book, with Matilda making amends by replacing Clemmie’s balloon.
In my experience, kids find toddlers pretty hilarious. Clemmie’s limited language skills are played to comic affect more than once here. Readers (especially those with older sibling experience) will slide right into Matilda’s shoes, smiling and laughing at Clemmie’s nascent communication skills.
The full-color illustrations have have a sophisticated cartoon quality. Most would look right at home in a Sunday comic strip, yet occasionally pull back to give a sense of the outdoor surroundings.
No sibling rivalry here, just sisters enjoying a day in the rain. Readers will enjoy it too.
Review copy from the publisher.
Watch The Big Wet Balloon read-along video:
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About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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