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Ella and the Balloons in the Sky    by Danny Appleby & Lauren Pirie order for
Ella and the Balloons in the Sky
by Danny Appleby
Order:  USA  Can
Tundra, 2013 (2013)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Here's a picture book that addresses loss - and grief - over the death of a pet (actually four at once, which seems a bit extreme) - in a gentle manner. Ella and the Balloons in the Sky is written by Danny Appleby and illustrated in muted tones by Lauren Pirie.

One day, when Ella went to feed her pets, 'there was no dog in its house, no fish in its bowl, no bird in its cage, and no cat at all.' She searched, and when she looked up outside, there they were afloat and tied to balloons. They rose higher and higher even when she called them to stay.

Of course, Mom consoled Ella, saying, 'When things float away / you must say good-bye, / but when you miss them the most, / just look up to the sky.' And Ella finally came to terms with her loss: 'As long as she knew they could always be found, they'd stay in her heart right here on the ground.'

Though the treatment (and verse) here is a little awkward, there aren't very many picture books that deal with loss, so this might be a good choice for a parent to help a child cope.

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