cover image Can One Balloon Make an Elephant Fly?

Can One Balloon Make an Elephant Fly?

Dan Richards, illus. by Jeff Newman. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4424-5215-2

Evan and his mother are at the zoo, and they have bunches of colorful balloons. When Evan asks the question of the title and some follow-ups, she’s busy typing on her smartphone. Once she realizes that he is talking about a small toy, not the actual elephant in front of them, her expression softens. “One balloon is definitely enough to make an elephant fly,” she assures him. They continue through the zoo, debating how many balloons might make various toy animals fly; meanwhile, Evan is busy giving balloons to the real animals. Newman’s (Phoebe and Digger) heavy charcoal shading and primary color palette recall ’60s-era picture books, and the zoo has a retro feel, too. “Aren’t they amazing?” asks Evan’s mother, hugging him after she sets the toys aloft. “Yeah. Amazing,” he replies, seeing what she doesn’t: the real animals are floating away, too. Writing entirely in dialogue, Richards (The Problem with Not Being Scared of Monsters) suggests that a quiet, everyday magic is all around, just waiting for us to notice. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary. (Aug.)