This year hasn’t been the best for the world so thinking of Christmas isn’t something that will be at the forefront of most people’s minds, especially at the start of October. That said, I have been reading (well the website is called What’s Good To Read) a children’s book that would be perfect for the festive period – Billy and the Balloons, written by Elizabeth Dale and illustrated by Patrick Corrigan.
Billy and the Balloons is a 32-page full colour Christmas book for children (and all us young at heart adults). It is a magical story featuring Billy and his dad, a whole host of zoo animals and no Christmas story would be complete without Santa and his reindeers.
Billy’s dad is a balloon seller and creates lots of shapes and animals with them. On Christmas Eve, Billy is helping his dad sell the balloons to all the happy Christmas shoppers. When the wind blows and his dads hands start to get really cold Billy offers to hold the balloons. But as Billy is too small his dad says no. When the wind blows again the balloons are blown out of his hands and little Billy runs and grabs the strings. All is well and good, that is until Billy starts to be lifted up into the air with the balloons. A magical adventure is about to begin.
“When everyone noticed that just tiny Billy
Held all the balloons they were really scared SILLY!
‘Oh Billy, hold tight to the strings!’ they all cried,
So Billy held tight for a magical ride!”
Billy is unexpected taken up into the skies, along with the dad at his feet, floating over rooftops and trees. Along the way the pick up a cow, a farmer and a couple of monkeys. But as they fly further they soon hear a tinkling, jingling sound – what could it be? As it was Christmas Eve is could only be Santa and his reindeer.
But Santa is having a problem, he has been eating too many mince pies on his travels and is far too heavy for the reindeer to pull and he has tired them out. He asks Billy for a lift, but things do not go as hoped. With Santa’s ever-expanding waistline (a bit like mine at the moment) and Billy being small, Billy has an idea and helps save Christmas.
Overall, Billy and his Balloons is a charming and imaginative story that will delight its readers, young and old.
The text is charming and engaging with balloons, animals and of course Santa and his reindeer (although my young helper reader pointed out that the book was wrong as there was no red-nosed reindeer leading the pack. Apparently, the reindeer are not complete without Rudolph. Note: we have been informed that due to copyright the name and character are protected so sadly said reindeer couldn’t make an appearance).
The illustrations have been beautifully drawn and colourful, enhancing the story and getting the story visually across to the children with ease. They are fun and appealing.
Billy and the Balloons is a magical festive adventure that will entertain and delight the reader and get the children ready for the festive season. It is a fun story. And the book features one pull out page that is a nice surprise.
If you are looking for a Christmas story book to go in a Christmas Eve box or just to get the kids in a good mood before bed coming up to Christmas, then you can’t go wrong with Billy and the Balloons (even with the missing Rudolph), and they will even learn a bit about kindness and helping others.
RRP: £11.99 (Hardback) / £8.99 (Paperback)
Available to buy from Amazon here.