The Elephant and the Balloon was a book written by Bernard Black and illustrated by Manny Bianco. Although Bernard wrote most of the book, Manny suggested the original idea of an elephant losing a balloon. The book was written in order to win a bet with Fran Katzenjammer, who challenged them to write a book for International Children's Book Week.
Original draft Edit
- "The plot's... interesting. Might be a little complex for the three to sixes."
- —Manny Bianco on the original draft
The original draft of The Elephant and the Balloon was extremely lengthy at 1030 pages. Although it was aimed at a young audience, the book seemed to be very advanced for children, revolving around an academic who survived the Stalinist purges, his daughter whose marraige is collapsing and a journalist who suspects the academic was never in Russia at the time and falls madly in love with the academic's daughter.
Manny noticed that this was not a children's book and convinced him to rewrite the plot so that the story revolves around an elephant who loses his balloon.
Final draft Edit
- "Bernard, I feel sorry for the children who grew up before they could read this."
- —Manny Bianco on the final draft
The final draft of The Elephant and the Balloon consisted of only a few sentences: 'There's the elephant, he's happy with his balloon. Oh, no! It's gone! Where is it? It's not behind the rhino. Look in the alligator's mouth. It's not there either. Ohh ... the monkey's got it in the tree! He brings it back ... They all drink lemonade. The end'. The finished product was complete with colourful illustrations drawn by Manny.
- "This is the right thing to do."
- —Bernard Black on the destruction of the book
Despite being very pleased with their work, Bernard and Manny feared that they would be put under pressure to write a sequel and would be heckled by the public and the paparazzi if they published the book. They made an unanimous decision to burn the book, however, at the last minute they reconsidered and attempted to put out the flames.
However, it was too late, as all they managed to recover were a few charred remains. They attempted to rewrite the book, however, they could not remember the plot and gave up.
- Unidentified elephant
- Unidentified rhino
- Unidentified alligator
- Unidentified monkey