Children's Features

-- 11/3/00

WHERE DO BALLOONS GO?: An Uplifting Mystery

Jamie Lee Curtis, illus. by Laura Cornell.

HarperCollins/Cotler, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 0-06-027980-X

This far-fetched tale by the creators of Today I Feel Silly and Other Moods That Make My Day may well raise youngsters' spirits as verse and art muse fancifully on the possible fates of wayward balloons. Cornell casts the balloons in human roles as the young narrator, a boy who has accidentally let go of his balloon's string, wonders, "Where do they go when they float far away? Do they ever catch cold and need somewhere to stay?" The zany accompanying cartoon pictures show a balloon sitting on the couch in a doctor's waiting room and another approaching a hotel, its string attached to a suitcase. In other scenarios, balloons dine in a restaurant, write postcards home and "cha-cha with birds" on the wing of an airplane, culminating in a four-page fold-out spread of "a big balloon dance." Bursting with color and balloons of all shapes, sizes and functions (many balloons making encore appearances bear clever messages or advertisements), Cornell's busy art provides ample diversion for young readers. Though not as memorable as some of the collaborators' earlier work, this volume, like the high-flying balloon that sets a boy's imagination soaring, is way out there--in a kid-pleasing way. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)