cover image The Great Balloon Hullaballoo

The Great Balloon Hullaballoo

Peter Bently, illus. by Mei Matsuoka. Andersen Press USA (Lerner, dist.), $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4677-3449-3

Three easygoing animals star in this intergalactic frolic from the creators of The Great Sheep Shenanigans. “Please pop to the shop,” says Simon the Squirrel’s mother, whose shopping list includes toilet paper, bread, honey, and cheese. Since Simon knows that the moon is made of cheese, he and his pals take off in a hot-air balloon: “They shot into space with spectacular force/ Until a great comet—whooooosh!—blew them off course!” Instead, they do their shopping on various planets, buying honey and blue bread from a two-headed monster on Mars and pants from aliens on Saturn who wear them on their heads. Matsuoka’s high-spirited mixed-media art is in step with the batty humor of Bently’s couplets (“For TP this planet is just the right place!” exclaims a pink tentacled resident of Uranus, as the illustrator shows rolls of it littering the landscape). Bently again dips into cheeky humor when a meteor punctures the balloon: “ ‘Don’t panic!’ said Rodney. ‘It’s under control!’/ And he climbed up and plonked his rear end on the hole.” Good flighty fun. Ages 4–9. (Apr.)