Ralphie's Balloon
by Julie Holzer
Trafford Publishing

"Please Momma, I must have this treat!"

Ralphie’s Balloon is a charming soft-cover picture book, set against the backdrop of a Sunday afternoon in the park. Author, Julie Holzer, takes readers on a day-long journey as Ralphie, a small cat, excitedly explores all nature has to offer. That is, until he spots a red balloon in the sky. He begs his mother to buy a balloon—without which, he cannot imagine having anymore fun. At first his mother objects because of Ralphie's tendency to play too rough. However, he persists, promising to handle it gently.

Holzer incorporates colorful artwork to communicate the sense of vibrancy felt by the main character, especially as he races through the park with his newfound toy. Growing tired, Ralphie decides to stop and hit the balloon with his paw. Unfortunately, the balloon bursts, leaving him heartbroken. Insisting he has learned his lesson to play even gentler, he convinces his mother to purchase another balloon. This experience has a profound impact on Ralphie; at the end of the day, he still has his balloon when he and his mother head home. She is thrilled he learned his lesson. After dinner, Ralphie proudly grabs his balloon, says his prayers, and goes to bed.

This tale presents adults with an opportunity to teach children that, at times, being overly excited may result in destructive outcomes. After reading Ralphie's Balloon, kids will understand conditions for rough and gentle play.

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