Reading/Interest Level: Preschool
Author: Philip C. Stead
Illustrator: Philip C. Stead
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Sebastian is having a very boring day, so he decides to go an an adventure. He gathers together all the things he would ever need, then boards his hot air balloon built from Grandma’s afghans and quilts. Along the way, Sebastian befriends a real bear, a very tall bird, and three sisters. When unexpected challenges arise, Sebastian has everything he needs to make things right. The group of newfound friends fix the roller coaster together and have fun riding it all night long, until the wind picks up and they continue on their way.
Sebastian and the Balloon contains whimsical and quirky charcoal and oil paint illustrations that are a breath of fresh air in the cluttered world of children’s books. This is a simple and soft story as Sebastian drifts from one situation to another. The story ends with the adventure continuing, rather than with him returning home or with the reader discovering the adventure is in his imagination. This allows children reading this book to speculate on the many adventures Sebastian and his friends will continue to encounter.