By Keiko Sena
Translated by Peter Howlett and Richard McNamara
Publisher: R.I.C Story Chest, 32 pages
The illustrations alone would have made me grin, but the text sealed the deal.
Balloon Cat reminds me of Ekath, my No. 2 son, and when I read the bit that goes: "I don't want to share with my baby sister. Why? Because I'm all puffed up with anger!" I howled with laughter.
Balloon Cat is always angry and sulky and puffed up. To tell you the truth, he rather reminds me of myself. (This is why I like Little My in Tove Jansson's Moomin books, because she is always angry!).
In the end, Cat puffs up so much than he flies off into the sky, leaving his mama calling below. Yes, that's sad, but I have faith that he will soon miss his mama and float back down into her arms. Or maybe he will get even angrier and find himself on the moon!
This is one of publishing house RIC's Story Chest series - books originally published in Japanese. I had a lovely chat with John Moore (the President of RIC's Japanese office) when he was in town a week ago.
I was very inspired by what he told me about the company and I plan to do a story about RIC and its picture books (I will be interviewing two of RIC's translators, including Peter Howlett, for this article). I really like the idea of bringing Asian books to an international audience.
Someday, I hope, we will be able to introduce Malaysian picture books to children all over the world, but, of course, first we have to create these books. I'm working on this and it's taking up a huge chunk of my time but it's going to be worth all the effort. I feel it in my bones.