Friday 27 May 2016

Three Magic Balloons

Three Magic Balloons as told to Julianna Margulies and her Sisters told by Paul Margulies, illustrated by Grant Shaffer (Piccolo Nero) HB RRP
ISBN 9781863958370

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Julianna Margulies is a world-famous award-winning actress. The story re-told in this picture book by her brother was one originally told to her and her two sisters when they were children by their father. It’s a story about three children who every Saturday go with their dad to the Children’s Zoo in a city park (probably Central Park in New York). Dad offers them money for a treat, but instead they choose to buy foods for the animals. One day, a mysterious man gives them a small reward for their kindness – a different colour balloon for each of them. At night they dream that their respective beds – to which their balloons are tethered – float through the sky where they meet three angels who grant them wishes.

It must have been wonderful to have such a loving father who was also a storyteller. But would this picture book have been published if written by an unknown author? I wondered this as I found this story sweet and sentimental but not memorable. It also contains Americanised words which might not be familiar to Australian readers.

Nevertheless the story has a certain charm and the illustrations are bright and amusing. The story’s message is: ‘Magic is everywhere; you just need to know where to look’ – which, after all, is a great message for anyone. 

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