A birthday balloon can be lonely after the children go home…but a friend can fly up out of anywhere!
Valentine’s Day might cause many of us to think exclusively of romantic relationships, but really it’s a time to honor all our relationships: our children, our parents, and even our friends. Love is in the Air by Jonathan Fenske tells a wonderful story of friendship for any child to understand and treasure.
Fenske’s wife Jennifer, a novelist, asked me if she could send me a copy of t
he book for review, and though the reading level is well above Max’s at this point, I agreed for a couple of reasons:
- Young reader books tend to repeat words, which is great to help them learn. Though I imagine it will be quite awhile before Max reads his first words, I’ll do anything I can now to help that day come sooner!
- There’s a balloon on the cover, and it turns out that the balloon is in fact the main character. Max adores balloons. His friend Wyatt brought him some balloons when Max had his adenoids out in November, and he played with them every day through Christmas. I knew a book about a balloon would be a hit.
And it was! The balloon stays tied to a bench long after the birthday boy takes his presents home, so the flying party favor is feeling dejected when, all of a sudden, a bright yellow kite flies up with a smile. The balloon’s frown turns right away into a smile, showing that a single kind look can turn someone’s whole day around. What a great lesson in the first few pages!
The kite encourages the balloon to reach new heights; then the balloon returns the favor for its new friend. This is a great example for young readers that good friends bring out the best in each other. Max enjoyed saying “Balloon!” and smiling throughout their play. The two friends play creatively together until an unfavorable wind and a bird’s sharp beak threaten the friends’ play. Luckily, friendship wins out with one friend supporting the other.
Because of the beautiful message of friendship, along with the simply sweet illustrations, Love is in the Air deserves 5 snacks: