Kids in Museums Book Club: No Balloons at the MET!

October 17, 2016

Kids in Museums

After a bit of a summer of a summer hiatus, the Kids in Museums Book Club is back. And since we are heading to New York for the Autumn school holidays, the book club is heading there too. This is the first time I’ve chosen a book with no words in it at all, but both my 2 year old and my 6 year old love ‘You Can’t Take a Balloon Into The Metropolitan Museum’, by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman and Robin Preiss Glasser. We make up our own words to the story as we go along, and it’s a little bit different every time.


The starting premise of the book, is a little girl holding a yellow balloon, walking up the steps to the MET with her grandmother. When she gets to the top, she is disappointed to discover she can’t take the balloon inside, so leaves it tied to a railing where a museum guard promises to look after it. You can probably guess what happens next, the balloon comes loose, and the museum guard ends up chasing it around New York, gathering a cast of colourful characters along the way who join the chase.


Meanwhile, the little girl and her grandmother are touring the museum, looking at paintings, sculptures and historical artefacts – all of which are mirrored in the balloon chase happening outside. For example, the duo at the museum are looking at ‘Portrait of a Lady with a Dog’ by Jean Honore Fragonard, whilst the balloon chase passes a lady dog walker. I love this ideas – it’s brilliant! We had so much fun trying to spot all the things that were alike. Another thing I really love, is the illustrations. The background scenes in the book are drawn mostly in black and white, with the little girl, her grandmother and all the characters that end up playing a part – as well as the yellow balloon, of course – in colour. And the artworks themselves are photographic reproductions of the real artworks at the MET! In total, eighteen paintings, sculptures and artefacts have been reproduced for the book.


But enough of why I love this book, let’s ask #MuseumBoy what he thinks!

What did you think of the book?

Good! But why are there not any words?

So you can make up your own words and story. It’s fun, don’t you think?

Yes. I like making up stories.

So, do you have a favourite bit in the book?

Yes, this one! [see below]


Okay, so that’s your favourite picture. Is there anything else about the book that’s your favourite?

I like looking for all the ‘same same’ bits. [note: the mirrored scenes]

Was there anything you didn’t like?

No, it’s all good.

Anything else you want to say about the book?

I like that we know the secret and the girl doesn’t!

The secret?

Yes, what’s happening with the balloon. But the girl doesn’t know because she is in the museum.

So how come the little girl doesn’t find out what has happened? Won’t she notice her balloon is gone when she comes out? We’ll, I’m not going to give away the secret. You’ll need to get your hands on a copy of the book to find out ;)

‘You Can’t Take a Balloon Into The Metropolitan Museum’, by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman and Robin Preiss Glasser, reprint edition 2001, Picture Puffin. Available from Amazon UK*, Amazon Deutschland and Amazon USA. Please note the links marked with an * are affiliate links, which means if you shop via these links, I receive a small percentage of the sales.


One Response to “Kids in Museums Book Club: No Balloons at the MET!”

  1. Marina - Imaginibus Says:

    What a fun book! It reminds me a bit of La traversée du Louvre by David Prudhomme, where visitors mirror the artworks they are looking at. Thanks for sharing this wonderful find.


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