My Friend, Loonie

Candlewick. Mar. 2023. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781536213935.
PreS-Gr 2–A very gentle tale of friendship made and lost and its lingering impact on a young girl. When the girl’s moms bring home a big yellow balloon it is warmly welcomed and a brightness comes into the life of the unnamed main character of the story. Loonie, as the balloon is affectionately called, participates in walks and dance parties and the yellow cheerfulness pervades all aspects of the young girl’s life. On a trip out to the garden, untethered Loonie floats away and the young girl misses her friend greatly. Her moms try to comfort her with gardening and one day a bright yellow flower blooms from their efforts; the young girl is reminded of all the good times she had with her friend. From then on the young girl sees “yellow in places she’d never noticed before” and the heaviness of her loss has lifted. Mixed media illustrations capture the shifting tone of the story and the emotional journey of the young girl as she makes a new friend, loses that friend, learns to cope with the loss. Children will understand the emotional journey of the protagonist and have stories of connections made and lost ready to share by the end of this charming and heartfelt tale.
VERDICT Honoring the emotional complexities of childhood, this is a fine addition for most libraries hoping to help children handle their complex emotional lives.

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