Floaty by John Himmelman
This is a touching, sweet story of two misfits who find each other. Mr. Raisin lives alone and spends his time sewing. One morning, he finds a basket on his doorstep with a note saying “All yours. Too much trouble.” The basket appears to be empty, until Mr. Raisin notices a puppy floating up to the ceiling. At first, Mr. Raisin is going to release him outside, but he realizes if he does that, the dog will float away. So instead, with much grumbling and inventiveness, Mr. Raisin feeds the dog, gives him water, and even takes him for a walk. Over time, he grows fond of the dog and names him Floaty. One day while out for a walk, the leash breaks and Floaty is lost! Mr. Raisin searches for him, but is unable to find him as he floats farther and farther away. In the delightful ending, Mr. Raisin sews himself a hot air balloon and rescues Floaty during a thunderstorm. It is heartwarming to see the grumpy old man’s heart opening to love. He wasn’t so grumpy after all, just lonely and in need of a companion. The book also demonstrates the lengths to which we will go for our loved ones. I love seeing Mr. Raisin send up a bowl of food carried by balloons because he is worried about Floaty after he floats away and sewing the balloon is a wonderful example of devotion. The book is also quite funny, with colorful, bold illustrations that add many laughs. For example, one scene shows Floaty at bedtime floating to the ceiling with the blanket over him, leaving Mr. Raisin in bed with no blanket. Another shows Floaty snatching a slice of pizza from a delivery man after he has floated away. A delightful and warm read.