Cover image for You can't take a balloon into the Metropolitan Museum
You can't take a balloon into the Metropolitan Museum
Weitzman, Jacqueline Preiss.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Dial Books for Young Readers, [1998]

Physical Description:
37 pages : color illustrations ; 29 cm
In this wordless story, a young girl and her grandmother view works inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art, while the balloon she has been forced to leave outside floats around New York City causing a series of mishaps that mirror scenes in the museum's artworks.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
J PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area-Picture Books
J PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
J PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



New York City and its famed Metropolitan Museum of Art provide the setting for a crazy collision of art and city life in this inventively illustrated picture book. It all starts with a little girl's trip to view the museum's treasures and the parallel journey of her runaway yellow balloon. Floating down Fifth Avenue, past Central Park, bumping into a very silly tea party at the Plaza Hotel, and even adding to a tumultuous performance at the Metropolitan Opera, the balloon becomes part of a hilarious panorama of scenes that seem to mirror the paintings and sculpture raptly viewed by the wide-eyed little girl. The result is an illuminating exploration of how life can be captured with both the blink of an eye, and the stroke of a brush. Real-life sisters Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman and Robin Preiss Glasser pooled their skills, ideas, and memories to create this very special collaboration. Ms. Glasser is the illustrator of Judith Viorst's Alexander, Who's Not (Do You Hear Me? I Mean It!) Going to Move .Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman lives in New York City.Robin Preiss Glasser lives in Newport Beach, California.

Author Notes

Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman lives in New York City.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5^-8. A wordless picture book that playfully echoes the style of Eloise and the substance of the Red Balloon. A small girl and her grandma go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, but the guard outside won't let the child's yellow balloon inside. However, he ties it to the railing to await her return. When a pigeon loosens the string, the guard takes off on a madcap chase: through the Children's Zoo, the Wollman Ice Skating Rink, and the Palm Court at the Plaza Hotel. The balloon lazily wreaks havoc through skaters, dog walkers, a construction site, and a wedding; and soon participants from all these events are chasing the guard and the balloon, too. Meanwhile, child and grandmother are looking at great stuff that echoes what is going on outside: Childe Hassam's avenue of flags and the facade of the Plaza; foot and chariot races on Greek vases and the merry chase of the balloon squad after a carriage horse. In the thrilling denouement, the balloon gets carried via cello into a performance of Aida at Lincoln Center, followed by museum guard and company, creating a scene of agreeable chaos matched by Jackson Pollock's "Autumn Rhythm." But the girl gets tired; the mime in front of the museum ends up with the balloon and presents it to the guard, who returns it to the none-the-wiser kid. Lively, squiggly ink sketches with characters picked out in watercolor and gouache for accent, along with reproductions of art from the Met (Perseus' full frontal is artfully covered by a lady's feathered hat), tell a vivid, happy tale by the author-illustrator sister duo. --GraceAnne A. DeCandido

Publisher's Weekly Review

Loaded with pizzazz, this wordless story takes readers on a great balloon chase that encompasses some of New York City's most celebrated sites. A grandmother and a girl holding a yellow helium balloon are stopped at the door of the Metropolitan Museum and a guard ties the forbidden toy to the banister, offering to keep an eye on it. The moment he turns away, a pigeon unties the balloon, and the guard is off and running to retrieve it. Detailed pen-and-ink drawings, punctuated with color to highlight the central action, show all the chaos that ensues, from Central Park to the Plaza Hotel to a production of Aida at the Metropolitan Opera. Into the scenes of mayhem, Glasser (Alexander, Who's Not [Do You Hear Me? I Mean It!] Going to Move) cleverly inserts reproductions of famous works of art, as viewed by the girl and grandmother, each a reflection of whatever action is going on around the balloon. In the onstage scene at the opera, for example, a dog walker, a zookeeper, a Plaza bellhop and others wreak havoc while the girl and her grandmother view an equally erratic painting (Autumn Rhythm) by Jackson Pollock. Some pairings work better than others, but Glasser's drawings capture all the energy and charm of a captivating city. Ages 5-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-In this wordless picture book, a little girl visits the Metropolitan Museum with her grandma, leaving her yellow balloon tied to the railing outside. However, it escapes with the help of a pigeon and the rest of the story follows the balloon's adventures in New York City while the little girl and her grandmother are inside. There are often three or more busy vignettes filled with activity and energy on each page. Adults may pick up on the fact that the balloon's adventures are often thematically matched with the sights at the Met (e.g., as the museum-goers view the Temple of Dendur, the balloon shares the stage at the Metropolitan Opera with Aida). The balloon has many wild escapades that show children and adults in silly settings throughout the city. This is a fun story with a lovely grandparent/child relationship. It won't teach readers much about famous paintings or about life in New York City, but it does offer lots of viewing for children and adults to share.-Susan Lissim, Dwight School, New York City (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.