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The Red Balloon

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  792 ratings  ·  106 reviews
A magical book that has become an enduring children's classic, The Red Balloon is the story of a young boy and his best friend--a bright red balloon. Chock-full of photographs of the boy, the balloon and the captivating city of Paris.

A New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book of the Year.
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published July 15th 1967 by Doubleday Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 1956)
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Emily Our 5-yr-old and 1.5-yr-old both enjoyed it in their own ways. I'd say this book is most suitable for preschool to early elementary school kids.…moreOur 5-yr-old and 1.5-yr-old both enjoyed it in their own ways. I'd say this book is most suitable for preschool to early elementary school kids.(less)
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Average rating 4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  792 ratings  ·  106 reviews

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Bionic Jean
Have you ever had an imaginary friend? Perhaps a secret friend, but one whom nobody but you ever sees? Usually such a friend disappears for ever when a real friend comes to take their place. But what if this friend can be seen by all: it is not human - not even a living creature - but an inanimate object?

Such is the twist in this tale. A lonely little boy, Pascal, has a friend who is loyal, spirited, brave and naughtier than he is, and everyone can see this friend. They react with envy or annoya
Spencer Orey
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids-books
The mean kids and the adults are awful! And the balloon rescue at the end is great.
Georgia Scott
Mar 12, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children's books, Paris
If, like me, you think Paris is beautiful whether in your dreams or from going there, then you will like this classic. I loved it as a child and didn't know why. Did I want to be that boy running through the streets of Paris? No one asked. I can't remember. Open the book with its stills from the film of the same title and ask yourself that question.
Lisa Vegan
I'm not sure why I bought and read this book. Mastery over trauma? Because when I was in elementary school, whenever it rained and we couldn't go outside into the play yard for the bulk of our lunch period, they'd herd us all into the auditorium, and show us the film The Red Balloon. To me, it was a sad story about loss whose ending did not console me at all. Ah well. ...more
N.N. Light
This was a childhood favorite book of mine and I still love it to this day. A sweet story about a young boy and his best friend who happens to be a red balloon. What makes this book so special are the photographs of Paris as the boy wanders around the city. Highly recommend!

My Rating: 5 stars
Mar 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france
Based on the 1956 movie, Le Ballon Rouge, this adaptation of the film with photographs follows a boy’s friendship with a red balloon in Paris. Pascal espies a red balloon and after catching it spends the day with the balloon. However, the balloon has a mind of its own and despite efforts to separate them, the red balloon follows and protects Pascal. Friendships come in all packages and shapes if you believe. A charming and moving tale of the innocence and the imagination of a lonely boy.
Mar 13, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read this book since I was in elementary school and now have read it to my grandson several times. I remember also seeing the movie version made of it. Although written in 1956, it has weathered well and stands the test of time. The big difference in the years is that probably the principal would not lock Pascal in his office in this day and age. Essentially it is a story of friendship and support. The end is a little fantasy, but one which most children would enjoy thinking of.
Dec 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite book from childhood.
Ginta Harrigan
Oct 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: international
“The Red Balloon” is actually a French film short that was released in the 1950’s. I saw the film a few years ago but did not remember much from it. Reading the book brought back memories of the film.

I loved this book. I love the relationship between Pascal and his friend the red balloon. The balloon is an inanimate character that has animate qualities. The balloon accompanies Pascal everywhere and often lands him in a lot of trouble. The story is told with humor and sensitivity. I predict chil
Esther Barajikian
"The Red Balloon" is a fanciful picture book that captures the imagination of primary readers. The book tells the story of a lonely little boy, Pascal who becomes friends with a big red balloon. They have many adventures on the streets of Paris. The strength of their friendship is tested and proved to be true. I gave the book a 4-star rating for several reasons. The pictures are beautiful still photographs taken from a film entitled "The Red Balloon" that was produced in 1956. Many of them are b ...more
Nov 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE!
Shelves: children
I got this book 29 years ago from my forner mother in law when I began my student teachinbg assignment with Kindergarteners. it had belonged to my former husband and she said it had been one of his favorites. Well, one day I brought a blown up red balloon (helium) to school inside of a box (I called it my magic box) and sat the children down at circle time. I told them that something very special was inside of the box and had them guess. When I opened the box and the balloon popped our everyone ...more
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this for my kids when they were little. I was intrigued by the photographs and story, as I was really into French culture at the time. But my kids absolutely hated it. They thought it was so weird and creepy. They could not relate to it at all. I feel it’s not really a children’s book. It’s really for adults who like artsy things. It was a very wacky story indeed. (It’s actually from the movie of the same name.)
Dec 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I ever read in the school library that wasn't on the shorter shelves specifically for kids. I remember asking the librarian to take it off the shelf for me in first grade because I couldn't reach it. I don't really remember anything about this book except that I loved it. I should find a copy and revisit it now, 23 years later ...more
Jan 28, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Is it possible for a red balloon to become your friend? The magic happens in this classic story of a young boy who finds a red balloon. I was reminded of this story by my grandson holding a red balloon. Some things just don’t go out of style.
Mar 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
about a little boys love for a red balloon
The movie is phenomenal. The book is for kids (and grown ups) who love the movie.
Jan 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A children's story with great significance. Highly recommended.

The things that we treat with respect and care will always come back to us.
Karen Dransfield
A rather odd story about a boy and a magical balloon that follows him around a bit like a pet. The photo's are from the film that the book is based on. ...more
I still think about this movie sometimes. It was magical, and surely contributed to my thinking that objects could be alive and have feelings, and stories didn't need words. ...more
Mar 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
I remember seeing a movie that mirrored this book; not sure which was made first? I had a little-girl-crush on the boy in the movie and whose picture is in this book.
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I guess I am the minority in my feelings about this book. It was okay, but not anything I might use in my classroom or read to my nephew.
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the book The Red Balloon, there is a little boy who is having a hard time with friends and wants more. He then finds a huge red balloon and they immediately become "best friends". This little boy goes throughout his regular day, but he can't take the balloon with him in some places like on the train or while he's at school. He finds ways to hide the balloon or give it to other people to take care of. He builds a great friendship with this inanimate object. Friendship can be strengthened when ...more
Short book, mostly full of large pictures from the old-ish film (which I have not seen, but from the pictures I can tell it's quite old) and a story. Quite hard to find - possibly because it looks like it was published in America. Larger than A4 in size. I'd guess this would be best for those aged 5-7, no older.

Saying this, the pictures are mostly in black and white, which I'm not sure young children would like and sometimes in colour, which possibly represents hope. Because it was set in times
Neil Pasricha
May 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most soulful conversations I've been privileged to have on my podcast 3 Books is with Mitchell Kaplan, a real life bookselling Yoda, who founded and runs the independent chain of eight Books and Books bookstores in Florida. (Including one in Key West run by Judy Blume!) I asked Mitchell: “If you could delete it from your brain, which book would you most want to read again for the first time?” And he said this book. I said I knew it… but then I bought it and realized I didn’t. A 1950s ...more
Libuska Lane
This book was imaginative and weird (in a good way). At the same time, it wasn't afraid to handle heavier topics. This boy seems to be in a bad situation: he is lonely, his mother treats him unkindly and he gets bullied. In the midst of this misery, the magical balloon is both a guardian angel and a mischievous pet, but most importantly, it provides hope, love and escape for the boy. It also makes the story feel more hopeful, allowing kindness and hope and imagination to lighten up the story.

The Red Balloon is a classic from France from the middle of last century. It's great for it's day; ok for this day. All photographs for illustrations, which is neat; mostly black-and-white which is not so neat in a book focused on a red balloon.

Joe, for some reason, loves it. It's super long for a toddler, but he loves it. No clue why.

Children's Picture Book Summarized: Boy finds balloon, skips school, skips church, gets mugged, gets high.
I don't get it. Nice enough story if you empathize, could certainly be considered a timeless fable I suppose, but it just doesn't do much for me. Also it makes me even less interested in visiting Paris; I do not know the appeal. I do love Pascal's little suit, though. And I empathize with his old mother; clearly she didn't expect a child at her time of life.

(Never saw the movie; maybe I'd like it better or see more in it.)
Katt Hansen
Pascal has a friend who happens to be a balloon. This book, based on a movie and illustrated with stills from that famous film, takes us on Pascal's journey across Paris where his balloon inspires him to get into mischief more than once. Sweet and kind of sad, this story takes us back in time (the 1950s, Paris) and allows us to see a little of what life was like at this time. I liked the balloon, and I liked Pascal as he got into trouble with his floaty friend. ...more
May 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 I remember seeing this film the book is based on when I was young and loved it. The book contains stills from the movie so it manages to capture the sweetness of the story. The Red Balloon depicts the loneliness that can be felt in childhood yet it also celebrates the absolute magic and freedom possible through imagination.
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-books
A book I enjoyed reading aloud to my daughter. Adapted from the film of the same title, with photos taken during the shooting of the film. A balloon befriends a little boy, but its presence keeps getting him into trouble.
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