I love wordless picture books, but this one is shocking in its blatant plagiarsim of a famous short French film about a red ballon from the 19650s.
I’ve got very mixed feelings about this one. I love wordless picture books and Staake has put together the narrative really well using a limited palette and a variety of page framings. But NOWHERE is the extent of the book’s debt to Albert Lamorisse’s beautiful silent French film Le Ballon Rouge acknowledged. All Staake has done is change the red balloon into a blue bird who befriends and follows a child. In the picture book as in the film, bullies intervene and the bird apparently dies. At the climax of the French film balloons from all over Paris come to lift up the boy into the sky. Here, a multicoloured flock of birds does exactly the same thing. “Like nothing else you have seen before” said Kirkus Reviews. Huh!