One More Year


Children - Picture Book
28 Pages
Reviewed on 11/13/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Allison Ione Ballenger used to be a kid just like you. Well, not JUST like you. Her hair was not exactly like yours, and her eyes were a slightly different color, and she also had many, many more freckles. But, just like you, she loved to read.

​The youngest of three children (and somewhat gullible by nature), Allison was also the perfect audience for her older siblings' hijinks and tall tales. They taught her to always be on the lookout for magic, which is a gift she hopes she can pass along today.

​Allison holds a B.A. in Literature from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. She now lives in Cary, NC, with her husband, Travis, and their two silly dogs.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite

One More Year by Allison Ione Ballenger, with illustrations by Carlos Velez Aguilera, is a children's picture book that takes a reader through the imagination of two young siblings as a brother tells his little sister what she may experience on the birthdays that follow her second, the entry point of this colorful story. The fantasy within Ballenger's text is brought to life with Aguilera's exceptional artwork as the promise of dragons and mermaids and unicorns springs from the page in a message of hope and optimism. Creativity and imagination reign supreme in pages that bridge the gap between the possibilities that arise from them and the process of having to let some things go in order to allow new and equally exciting things the opportunity to come in, which provides a platform for additional themes of patience and the value of experiences.

Oh my goodness...what a book One More Year is! Diversity in full color and fantasy galore, there is no question in my mind that Allison Ione Ballenger and Carlos Velez Aguilera form the perfect team in the field of children's literature. The narrative is presented in a rhythmic and lyrical format and sing-song prose such as, “Every year gets better, every birthday brings more fun. Think of all that lies ahead—you’ve only just begun!” I loved the illustration where brother and sister are shown splashing each other in the water playfully following a shared escapade with royal fairies, and then a piece showing the young sister crying on the sofa in disappointment as her brother lifts her spirits with all she still has to look forward to in her life. This is an exceptional book that I would give a whole bucket of stars to if I could. Very highly recommended.

Jack Magnus

One More Year is a children’s fantasy picture book written by Allison Ione Ballenger and illustrated by Carlos Velez Aguilera. What could be more exciting for a small child than their birthday? Well, what about the promise of the magical things that will happen when they’re one year older? In this enchanting and magical story, a little girl’s big brother promises her all manner of magical events which will happen in one more year. At first, it’s encountering the wizard who lives in the tree outside when she reaches the age of three -- a wise and friendly wizard who rides a bird with a long thin beak. The next year, she’ll get to meet a grumpy elf, who just happens to enjoy life safely ensconced in a dresser drawer. As she grows older, she begins to see a pattern in the promises of magical events the following year, and the way they seem to change or disappear just before she reaches those milestone birthdays. But the magic, or rather, simply the promise of it, is the stuff of high fantasy, and the glue that binds the love of brother and sister.

Allison Ione Ballenger’s One More Year is a nostalgic look at the author’s own childhood and her brother who created all the magic as she was growing up. I loved seeing how each year he’d create marvelous visions of the next birthday’s adventure even as I could relate to his sister’s growing impatience with the magic which never seemed to pan out after all. Young readers and caregivers alike will quickly come to realize the magic is in the stories themselves, the flights of the imagination the boy shares with his little sister, and the rich fantasy world he envisions and makes her a part of it. Carlos Velez Aguilera’s illustrations are arresting and powerful. Each panel is eloquent and chock-full of details, shading, and magic. I was drawn to all of them, starting with the wonderful first image of the siblings in the kitchen, sitting at the counter with a birthday cake in front of them. Behind them, there’s a big window that looks out onto the backyard, a large tree, and a wooden fence. If you look carefully, you can see reflections in the windowpane of the utensils sitting in a cup on the counter. Every picture is so rich in detail, and the fantasy panels are gorgeously colored and richly imagined. This book is a grand selection for storytime, but it’s also perfect for a young reader to try on their own. There’s magic inside! One More Year is most highly recommended.

K.C. Finn

One More Year is a work of fiction for children, and it is presented in the form of a picture book, with words and story by author Allison Ione Ballenger and illustrations from artist Carlos Vélez Aguilera. Designed as a read-along for young children, but also suitable as a first read for their older siblings, this charming book takes a tender look at a relationship between a brother and sister. As his little sister celebrates her birthday, our big brother storyteller introduces her to the world of imagination and showcases all of the magical things that she can encounter in the big wide world as she grows up.

Author Allison Ione Ballenger has created an absolutely beautiful book that will certainly charm its intended audience, as well as the older siblings, parents, and guardians who are part of the reading experience too. The book is presented in rhyme, delivering a counting system from the little girl’s second birthday as we go through a series of inventive characters and fun scenarios. One of the things I liked most was the contrast between these and the tender scenes of the brother and sister playing happily at home together in between. The illustrations from artist Carlos Vélez Aguilera are genuinely out of this world beautiful, complementing the text perfectly and delivering a deeply visual experience than any art fan could pore over for hours on end. Overall, I would highly recommend One More Year as a gorgeous and extremely creative work that young readers will be sure to enjoy again and again.