Iris on Books is one of my favourite blogs for reviews of fiction for adults. Iris tends to review classics and forgotten classics, books about and written by women, with a focus that I particularly like on world literature.
For the month of June, Iris (who happens to be Dutch by birth but currently living in Sweden) is hosting a special event focussing on Dutch literature. I’ve been meaning to write about our favourite Dutch books forever and a day but have kept putting it off – I have so many I want to share with you that it’s always seemed like too big a project to undertake. However, inspired by A Month of Dutch Literature, I’m now going to jump in and share the best of translated Dutch children’s picture books with you over the next few weeks.
Of course, this fits in quite well with my Reading Round Europe project for this year. It’s been too long since we last did a little bit of travelling! I’ve definitely got itchy feet and today’s book is the perfect read in these circumstances.
As with many brilliant picture books, the core idea behind The Yellow Balloon by Charlotte Dematons is incredibly simple; A balloon is let go of and it floats around the world. There could hardly be a barer basic storyline to this entirely wordless book. Despite, and perhaps also because of this, Yellow Balloon is a tour de force of both storytelling and illustration, a book your children will spend hours with, a book I’ll wager you’ll pick up after the kids are in bed, to look for secret clues and take part in your own flights of imagination.
What makes this book so brilliant?
Not entirely unlike the magnificent Anno’s Journey, The Yellow Balloon is a wonderful book which will take you on a tremendous journey, although in its scope and style The Yellow Balloon is more like a fairy tale symphony to Anno’s (beguiling but less romantic) baroque invention.
To sum up: Let yourself have your breath taken away. Be immersed in 1001 different, amazing, intriguing stories. Treat yourself to this incredibly beautiful, imaginative and inspiring book!
As ever wanting to turn the book into real life we played “hunt the yellow balloon” in our own home.
We took it in turns to hide the balloon and then the rest of us had to seek it.
An incredibly simple game but one that kept us playing and laughing all afternoon.
Whilst hunting our yellow balloon we had on in the background:
Other activities which could be fun alongside reading The Yellow Balloon include:
Don’t forget to visit Iris on Books before you leave the computer today – she’s a great reviewer and I’m sure you’ll find something interesting there, Dutch or otherwise