Friday, October 05, 2018

The Remember Balloons

The Remember Balloons. Jessie Oliveros. Illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte. 2018. Simon & Schuster. 48 pages. [Source: Library]

 First sentence: I have lots and lots of balloons, way more than my little brother. "This one's my favorite," I tell him, pointing to the balloon filled with my last birthday party. When I look at it, I can see the pony again. I can still taste the chocolate frosting.

Premise/plot: The balloons in the story symbolize a person's memories. James, our narrator, has many balloons though not as many as his parents and his grandpa. But that changes over the course of the book. His grandpa loses all of his balloons--his memories. This upsets James greatly. But then he notices that while his grandpa's balloons are gone, he has plenty of NEW balloons. Every single story his grandpa shared with him--every single balloon--is now his. His to remember. His to share. His to cherish.
But Grandpa has been having problems with his balloons lately. One will get caught in a tree, and he'll tell me the same story over and over. "Let me tell you about the Christmas I went to Aunt Nelle's farm," Grandpa says, even though he just finished telling me about it. Other times, a balloon will float right out of his hand, and he won't even know it.
My thoughts: I love, love, love, LOVE, crazy-love this one. It is incredibly good. It is sweet, bittersweet, and thought-provoking. It is on a sensitive topic; one that might be difficult for children to understand. (It may be "easy" for adults to grasp what Alzheimer's disease is mentally at least, but it's far from easy to process it in reality.)

This book celebrates FAMILY. I love that. The boy is obviously close with his whole family, but he is especially close with his grandfather. You don't always see that in picture books. It's obvious that these two have a lot of shared memories.

This book also celebrates STORIES. I really love that. Stories are gifts. Storytellers are gifted. Stories create bonds; stories celebrate what matters in life. The good. The bad. The ugly. The hilarious. The sweet. The more you hear a story, the more it becomes YOURS. Stories definitely shape/mold/transform our own memories, our own sense of self, of who we are, of where we belong.

I thought about my own balloons while reading this story. As soon as I read the book, I made my mom read it. Soon after she was, "I have a balloon I want to give you, but I'm not sure of its color." She then started telling me a story about how my sister told the nurse that her mama was going to be giving HER a baby.

Text: 5 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Total: 10 out of 10

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 comments:

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

My Blog List

(Old) Challenge Participants

Becky's Hosting These Challenges

100 Books Project: Fill in the Gaps

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP