If you’re longing to be swept away on the adventure of a lifetime, then SEBASTIAN AND THE BALLOON (2014) and JONATHAN AND THE BIG BLUE BOAT (2011) by Philip C. Stead (A Neal Porter Book/Roaring Brook Press) are just what you’re looking for. Whether it be Sebastian – who gathers “all the things he would ever need,” before boarding a balloon of patchwork quilts and afghans, or Jonathan – who climbs aboard a big blue boat in search of his favorite stuffed animal, the premise of both books – a search for something mysterious and elusive and just on the other side of a milky gray fog or a stormy sea – is timeless. The journeys are wild, imaginative, and delightfully charming, thereby encouraging readers to slow down to savor the beautifully rendered scenes. Whimsical and inviting, Stead’s books capture the magic of childhood in a way few have. Learn more about Philip Stead and his books at his website and enjoy more of his conversations with book people on art and bookmaking at Number Five Bus.