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The Silver Balloon
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About the Author

Susan Bonners is the author and illustrator of many fiction and nonfiction picture books for children, including The Wooden Doll, Just in Passing, and A Penguin Year. She lives in Roslindale, Massachusetts.

Reviews

This amiable tale suggests an intriguing alternative to sending a message in a bottle. When shy Gregory ties a note to a silver helium balloon and releases it from his city apartment window, he hopes someone will find it and reply. Fortunately for Gregory, a kindly farmer finds the balloon in his wheat field. Not only does he respond with a letter, but he encloses a mystery gift (a tip of wheat grass), which sends Gregory scurrying to the library to identify it. Gregory then sends the farmer a mystery gift from the city (a subway token). The new pen pals continue their correspondence until the farmer's final mystery gift brings them together and makes a celebrity of the reticent boy. Bonner's (The Wooden Doll) even pacing builds to a satisfying climax involving a science museum, a paleontologist and a roomful of children; and her gentle pencil sketches add warmth to the scenes. Young readers will enjoy Gregory's triumph over his shyness, and adults will appreciate Gregory's model of an inquisitive mind. Ages 7-9. (Sept.)

Gr 2-4‘A wonderful intergenerational story. Gregory, a shy fourth grader who lives in the city, initiates a pen-pal friendship when he sends off a message attached to a balloon. Clarence "Pete" Mayfield, a farmer, finds the balloon and responds with a letter and an unidentified gift. Gregory figures out what it is and writes a letter back to Pete, including a gift of his own‘a bus token. As the correspondence continues, Gregory learns to overcome his fears and frustrations about communicating. He discovers that he has the ability to write, to talk on the phone, and even to take a trip across the city to ask a university professor about the final gift he receives, a canine from a saber-toothed cat. Readers are drawn into the story as they wonder about each mysterious item. Black-and-white pencil sketches appear throughout. An author's note states that helium-filled balloons are harmful to wildlife. Marjorie Kaplan's The Fifteenth Peanut Butter Sandwich (Four Winds, 1990; o.p.) is a similar book for this age group with females as the main characters. A solid choice for fiction collections.‘Linda L. Plevak, Alamo Area Library System, San Antonio, TX

"A wonderful intergenerational story. Gregory, a shy fourth grader who lives in the city, initiates a pen-pal friendship when he sends off a message attached to a balloon...A solid choice." --School Library Journal"Young Gregory decides on a whim to release a helium balloonwith is name and address attached...The result is a great pen pal relationship that develops between Greg and the farmer Pete Mayfield [who] send a seried of mystery gifts to each other...This book will appeal to young readers on many levels - the mysteries fot he gifts, the development of the friendship, and the way that Greg sticks to his dreams till they come true." --Booklist"Bonners surreptitiously promote[s] letter writing, personal research, and the value of the publis library [and] she does it with an economy of words and a fast-paced, credible plot while her black-and-white drawings flesh out the text." --The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books A wonderful intergenerational story. Gregory, a shy fourth grader who lives in the city, initiates a pen-pal friendship when he sends off a message attached to a balloon...A solid choice. "School Library Journal" Young Gregory decides on a whim to release a helium balloonwith is name and address attached...The result is a great pen pal relationship that develops between Greg and the farmer Pete Mayfield [who] send a seried of mystery gifts to each other...This book will appeal to young readers on many levels - the mysteries fot he gifts, the development of the friendship, and the way that Greg sticks to his dreams till they come true. "Booklist" Bonners surreptitiously promote[s] letter writing, personal research, and the value of the publis library [and] she does it with an economy of words and a fast-paced, credible plot while her black-and-white drawings flesh out the text. "The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books"" "A wonderful intergenerational story. Gregory, a shy fourth grader who lives in the city, initiates a pen-pal friendship when he sends off a message attached to a balloon...A solid choice." --"School Library Journal""Young Gregory decides on a whim to release a helium balloonwith is name and address attached...The result is a great pen pal relationship that develops between Greg and the farmer Pete Mayfield [who] send a seried of mystery gifts to each other...This book will appeal to young readers on many levels - the mysteries fot he gifts, the development of the friendship, and the way that Greg sticks to his dreams till they come true." - "Booklist""Bonners surreptitiously promote[s] letter writing, personal research, and the value of the publis library [and] she does it with an economy of words and a fast-paced, credible plot while her black-and-white drawings flesh out the text." - "The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books"

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