cover image The Big Wet Balloon

The Big Wet Balloon

Ricardo Liniers. Candlewick/Toon Books, $12.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-9351-7932-0

Argentinean cartoonist Liniers makes his U.S. debut with a story that presents an up-close view of a tender sororal friendship. For optimistic and strong-willed Matilda, nothing beats a Saturday. “This is how you wake up on a Saturday,” she tells her younger sister, Clemmie, who peeks at Matilda from between the bars of her crib. “Hoooraayy! Hooooraaay! For all day today is Saaaaturdaaaay!” (“Ta-day!” cheers Clemmie, just trying to keep up.) It’s pouring rain on this particular Saturday, but that doesn’t deter Matilda; she coaxes Clemmie outdoors and shows her the delights of running through a downpour and jumping in puddles. When a rainbow appears, Matilda decides to offer it a gift—and what better gift than that red balloon her sister treasures? Liniers’s intimate ink-and-watercolor vignettes give way to a full-spread scene of a forlorn Clemmie chasing the balloon into the distance. He doesn’t linger on this transgression, but jumps ahead to the evening, as Matilda makes amends—a reminder that moments of disappointment and dismay can be as intense, but also as fleeting, as a summer storm. A bilingual edition is simultaneously available. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)