ISBN 0385142978 - I owned a copy of this book for many years before I ever read it. I'm not sure why, beside that my son just wasn't very interested in it, other than to periodically peek at the photos. It's a wonderful story!
Pascal is lonely. He has brought home strays in the past, but his mother doesn't want them bringing dirt into her house, so they have been put right back out. When he comes across a red balloon, he has no idea that it is magic - and soon to become his best friend! When his mother throws it out the window, it doesn't go anywhere. It hovers there until Pascal brings it back inside. Through the story, it follows him everywhere, even flying over the bus on the way to school. When a gang of boys become determined to take it from him, there's little he can do about it. And when they pop the balloon, he's devastated... then he sees an astonishing sight! Every captive balloon in Paris revolts. The balloons twine their strings together and lift him up and away.
There is a review that refers to that as "taking him to heaven", but the book says he took "a wonderful trip all around the world". That difference might be the difference between the original story and the adaptation for the film, or might be the film viewer's interpretation of the story. Either way, it's a great book, and a beautiful (if a little odd) story, full of wonderful photos of Paris in the 1950s. A little something for everyone!
These are pictures from the movie that those of us of a certain age saw numerous times in school.