my bed is an air balloon

When I was a little one, prime read-aloud hours were from 6-8am, when my mother read to us before the day truly started. Those are some of my favorite memories – the world not quite awake, snuggled in and listening to a story’s twists and turns. Now that I’m an adult I can see that my mom was bribing us to wake up with a story! And it worked. That said, I know that storytime for most families is at bedtime, and there’s a whole subset of picture books produced just for the end of the day. Julia Copus’ and Alison Jay’s My Bed is an Air Balloon is just such a bedtime tale, and its poetic flights of fancy will delight both parents and children.

my bed is an air balloon by julia copus, illustrated by alison jay cover
When night falls my bed is an air balloon.
I sail through the slipsiverse, close by the moon.
I float above treetops where fluttertufts are sleeping
And flowering hills where the whifflepigs go creeping;
Ponds strung with starlight that glitter like glass,
A floog with her velvet nose bent to the grass.
Such treasures I spy on! My bed in the trees
Swings me up high, like a circus trapeze.
Now the cool, night-rustling air
Slips through my finger-gaps, ripples my hair;
Now we glide over water, the moon’s silver light
Blown by a cloudpuff into the bight,
Adrift on the sea where the dream-shapes float;
When night falls my bed is a sailing boat.

A beautifully presented picture book with two front covers, the text can be read from front to back and vice versa. The mirror form poem meets in the middle in a stunning centerpiece image as the two children in the story (twins, one in an air balloon, the other a sailing boat) meet in the clouds!

My Bed is an Air Balloon imagines a world of nighttime travels and adventure, where children’s beds turn into air balloons and sailing boats, floating over a land full of whimsical imaginary creatures. Told in poem form that may be read front to back, or back to front, the format of the book will engage readers as much as the text, and prompt many requests for rereads.

Julia Copus’ poem employs wide-ranging vocabulary, invents new words for make-believe creatures, and charms with its lyricism and rhythm. It’s curious and at the same time lulling – reading through it twice (in different directions!) in the space of the book’s pages should encourage little listeners into dreams. The fantastical nature of the poem may also inspire further storytelling, as kids and adults alike discuss what a whifflepig or floog is, or how cloudpuff might live.

And the art! The art is truly a highlight. Alison Jay has taken the format and the poem and created gorgeous dream landscapes that fit this fanciful story. The book is a beautiful, dreamlike/real mash-up of the familiar and the imaginative with soft edges. The details are delicious, and each page has something to savor, be it boat slippers, floating teapots, or flying laundry. Jay’s art perfectly melds the bizarre and charming for dreamscapes we can identify with and wonder at, and on top of that it’s adorable.

In all, My Bed is an Air Balloon is a slightly strange and all the way wonderful picture book that’s destined to be a bedtime classic. I can’t wait to gift it to the little ones in my life.

Recommended for: bedtime reading for children ages 3-6, and anyone who likes fantastical picture books filled with exquisite art.

Fine print: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. I did not receive any compensation for this post.

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