AS WITH THE OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES, the little balloon is a long neglected and obsolete mode of transportation. In this case, he has been in a shed for the past fifty years, but it has been decided that the little balloon should be brought out for the fair at which he will "collect pennies in his basket for the children's Christmas party." He is repaired and repainted, and is so enticing that his basket is filled in no time.
That night, however, his anchored rope breaks and he floats away. He makes friends with birds and clouds, but eventually he ends up over the sea in a bad storm.
He survives to the next day when a man in an airplane retrieves him and then purchases him as a birthday gift for his son.
THE LANGUAGE IN THE LITTLE BALLOON does not sound like Greene. However, The Little Steamroller's plot is arguably as thin, and as it is clearly meant to be part of the series, it deserves to be mentioned.
Craigie went on to write and/or illustrate many other children's books. To see all of her artwork for The Voyage of the Luna I, visit my Flickr set here. To read an entire Dorothy Craigie picture book, you can view The Saucy Cockle on my Flickr here. And to read The Little Balloon and decide for yourself who wrote it, see my Flickr set here.
Miss Glover and I had both been re-reading The Moonstone as the war drew to its close and both of us were struck with one passage in it, for both of us had always assumed that the author of The Moonstone, apart from Edgar Allan Poe, had been the originator of the detective story. So ignorant we were in those days! It was this sentence of Sergeant Cuff's, 'It's only in books that the officers of a detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake', which awoke both of us to the fact that the detective story had existed long before Wilkie Collins, and from that moment we decided to make our collection.To read Greene's entire preface and the incredible endpapers, see my Flickr set here.
For more information on Graham Greene and his other children's books, see my posts:
The Little Train
The Little Red Fire Engine
The Little Horse Bus
The Little Steamroller
All images are copyrighted © and owned by their respective holders.