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Review: The Big Wet Balloon by Liniers

The Big Wet Balloon
By Liniers

TOON Books

ISBN: 9781935179320
Grades 1-2
In Stores September 10, 2013

Find it at:
Schuler Books | Your Library

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.

Excuse me.

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.

Click here to read a sample of The Big Wet Balloon.

Watch The Big Wet Balloon read-along video:

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 scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. I appreciated the inclusion of the read aloud video and through it saw many teaching possibilities linked to this book. Rain, rainbows, siblings, days of the week, things that move, etc. I just added it to my Book Selection list for the new school year.