Matilda can’t wait for her sister Clementine to wake up. Even though Clementine is so young she sleeps in a crib and only talks a little, Matilda has plans for them, big Saturday plans. That’s because everything is better on a Saturday. Picnics are more adventurous, breakfast tastes better, and even sisters are fun on a Saturday.
But it is raining.
Matilda will not be stopped from having her fun, even if it does mean running in the rain. After much demonstrating of the joys of rain to Clementine, they both play in the rain. The rain “sounds like clapping” and when “clouds crash together, rain EXPLODES from them.” There is even a rainbow, a bright colorful rainbow that seems to Matilda to demand an answer. This answer comes in the form of her sister’s bright red balloon. Madeline is happy to give her balloon to the rainbow, but is sad when she realizes the rainbow is not going to give it back.
Lineiers structures his text just right for early readers. Matilda talks a lot at her sister and then waits for a response that is always a beat late and very short. Matilda says “You have to TRY things, Clemmie. If you TRY something, you’ll see that you like it.” Clementine just stares at her sister for an entire panel, standing in the rain, then in the next panel says only, “Wet!” There is a good rhythm to the way the girls interact and the spacing of their conversation.
The art is watercolor on top of pen and ink drawings. The colors are appropriately subdued for a grey and rainy day except for the bright spots of Clementine’s yellow raincoat and her red balloon. Lineiers makes good use of the sequential art form, alternating between standard box panels vs. unboxed images and small images vs. one large image covering two pages.
The Big Wet Balloon
Toon Books, 2013
Publisher Age Rating: 4 – 8 years