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Monday, March 27, 2017

Bird, Balloon, Bear, story and pictures by Il Sung Na. Alfrerd A Knopf, Random House. 2017. $23.99 ages 2 and up

"But Bird was too
shy to say hello.

When he finally felt
brave enough ...

... it was too late!
Bear already had a friend."

Any child who has ever stood on the sidelines wanting to speak to someone new will know exactly how Bird feels. He has just moved into the neighborhood, and is looking for a friend. When he spots Bear, he is interested. But, Bird is shy and hangs back watching rather than reaching out.

Neither has much to do but watch ants crawling, sit silently on a rock, lean against a nearby tree. Just when Bird is ready to say hello, a red balloon captures Bear's attention. Bear and Balloon fashion a happy friendship, liking each other's company despite a lack of conversation. They spend their days together and watch the sun go down in the evenings. Poor Bird!

When a wind catches hold of Balloon and carries it away, it's Bird to the rescue! Up he flies, and does his level best to catch Balloon before he POPS! Too late ... Bear's new friend is a puddle of pieces. Only then does Bear notice Bird, and he's quick to say hello. Bird's patience and Bear's friendly spirit ensure that a new friendship is born.

I love the round edges - Bear's big belly, Bird's rounded red head, Balloon's soft shape. The colorful images are painted with a light touch, with lots of white space. This allows young readers to focus their attention on what is most important on each spread. The peaceful sunset, the strong movement of the wind as it blows the balloon away are perfect. Kids are going to love it, and will surely want to read it again. 

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