As we head into summer, I plan to lighten things up a bit and add a craft component to the reviews. I saw this Perfect Picture Book on my favourite Library shelf – the NEW books shelf, and thought back to the New England SCBWI conference in late April at which Jarrett Krosoczka was a keynote speaker. Having heard his story of perseverance and seen his amazing illustrations, I quickly picked this fairly recent picture book up. I’m so glad I did, not just because of its scenes of summer mishaps and fun but also because of its positive message for youngsters and adults of all ages.
Title: It’s Tough to Lose Your Balloon
Written & Illustrated By: Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Publisher/date: Alfred A. Knopf/2015
Suitable for Ages: 3-7
Themes/Topics: Loss, calamities, coping with loss
Opening: “It’s tough to lose your balloon…but it’ll make Grandma smile from the sky.”
Brief Synopsis: A series of vignettes in which a diverse group of kids overcomes troubles by looking on the bright side of things.
Links to Resources:
Try some awesome balloon activities, art, experiments, and crafts;
Think of something that has gone wrong; describe, draw or write about how that bad thing did or could have turned into something good.
Why I Like this Book:
In a series of vignettes, veteran author/illustrator Jarrett Krosoczka shows some common childhood obstacles or problems and then, when the pages turn, shows the bright sides of the situations. In one sense, this is a Concept Book about opposites: happy/sad; not fun/fun; worst/best. On a different level, though, this is an advice book showing readers and listeners how to cope when calamity strikes. None of the calamities rises to the level of awful; this is a fun-filled romp through those situations that often cause tears and tantrums, but, with a bit of coaching, could bring smiles and laughter. This is a book to have on hand when disaster strikes your own young child to help him or her see the bright side of the situation. It also could help bolster those coping skills all of us need to deal with troubles big and small.
A Note about Craft:
Krosoczka notes in an endnote that he had written a version of this book about the injustices of childhood back in 1999, but it had lain there, not quite working. Until one day, the title event happened to his daughter, and his ever-resourceful wife remarked that Grandma was on an airplane and she would see the lost balloon. Krosoczka followed his own advice to view an obstacle as an opportunity, and made lemonade from lemons – turning a potentially day-ruining event and a long-dormant story into a delightfully simple, but oh so effective, picture book. To all my writer friends: pour some lemonade and pour through those mothballed manuscripts – who knows what opportunities await.