Consumer Product Reviews And Opinions



The Blue Balloon - A Magical BIG Adventure



Mick Inkpen has to be one of the most popular authors when it comes to young childrens books. His most famous and popular creation so far has to be Kipper The Dog. Many of his Kipper stories have been shown on TV and can be bought on DVD too. Other Mick Inkpen books include such titles as Penguin Small, Bear, Billy's Beetle, The Great Pet Sale and The Blue Balloon. The Blue Balloon is the book which i've chosen to review.

The Blue Balloon, although not specifically a book about Kipper The Dog, features Kipper within the story which is what prompted me to purchase this. My Son has always been a fan of Kipper and avidly watches the TV programmes and enjoys watching the Kipper Classic Collection dvd time and time again. He also already possessed two Kipper books, Kippers Sunny Day and Kipper And The Treehouse, so it seemed logical to introduce him to The Blue Balloon. Initially we purchased the hardback version from the local car boot sale for a mere 20p which turned out to be one of the best 20 pences ever spent.

The books storyline is pretty simple but also magical and fun. One day Kipper finds a soggy blue balloon in the garden. He gives this soggy blue balloon to his little boy 'owner' and together they discover this particular balloon has 'strange and wonderful powers'. This blue balloon is 'indestructible'. When blown up it grows 'bigger and bigger and bigger'. It 'never ever bursts, never ever'. It can become invisible and even takes them for a fly up to the moon and back.

Mick Inkpen really seems to know how to capture the imagination of children and produce timeless classics again and again. The Blue Balloon is probably my favourite of all his books because it's such a fun read. Regardless of the fact this is a young childrens book I also found it quite enthralling at first, and even after reading it to my Son Jake for the 30th time I wasn't tearing my hair out like with so many other books.

The words and sentences within the book are easy for youngsters to understand yet at the same time Mick Inkpen introduces children to new words. What I especially like about Mick Inkpen is he seems to understand children and he understands how to communicate with them. The fact he didn't start writing childrens books until he had young children himself is probably the main reason he's so good at getting onto their level whereas so many other childrens authors appear to know zilch about the language of children. When Mick introduces a new word such as 'indestructible' he accompanies it with a picture which explains what the word means. In fact throughout this book everything is cleverly explained through vibrant and simple yet descriptive pictures. Many of his books are illustrated by his friend Nick Butterworth but this particular book must have been illustrated by Mick Inkpen himself as there's no mention of anyone elses imput.

Another point i'd like to mention about the illustrations is the uniqueness regarding the way some of the pages magically enlarge. For example when the balloon is blown up and it gets bigger and bigger and bigger, the page unfolds and opens out until a gigantic picture of a blue balloon appears. It's these little touches which my Son loves the most as I can tell by Jakes voice getting louder each time he says "bigger and bigger" at the same time as he unfolds the page. Unfortunately the unfolding large pictures do have a tendancy to become ripped when little fingers open them up in an excited manner. It's nothing a bit of cellotape can't fix though.

This is a perfect bedtime story book as it's fairly short at around 24 pages. It's also good for early readers as the words are printed large and clear, the sentences are small and words are explained through pictures. I'd highly recommend The Blue Balloon for ages 2 and above, all children will no doubt love it just like my Son does. In fact he loves it so much I bought him a brand new paperback version from the school book club and sent the hardback version to his Grandmas so she too could share in the delights of The Blue Balloon. At this stage in time both myself, my Son Jake and his Grandma have read it so many times we've memorised the entire book and can read it from start to finish without even having it in front of us. Needless to say i'm very impressed with Jakes memory as it was partly down to him and his constant need to repete phrases which made me memorise the entire book too.

If you're interested in purchasing this book it can cost around £5/£7 depending on where you buy it. Amazon have it on special offer for £5.59 right now http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0340757388/202-4703076-0647005 It works out much cheaper to buy from places such as eBay and especially car boot sales where it'll cost you a fraction of the retail price.

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