360V: Child Eschews Expensive Toys for Red Balloon

I teach Intro to Children’s Literature at a small community college in Ontario.
As part of the course, I ask students to tell me about some of their favorite or most memorable books.
I have a student who can’t remember the name of the book,  but he provided me with the following information.
“I can still remember the content of my favorite childhood book….the one with the single mother and son going to the mall. There were six red apples, there was four orange carrots”. I remember the mother and son would essentially go window shopping after collecting the groceries, they would explore the other thriving sections of the mall for more educational opportunities before eventually ending the story at a  children’s toy store. At the end, and this is the most important element, the child was given the choice of buying a wooden airplane or a wooden train or a plethora of other enticing things., Instead of being lured into buying something expensive, the child however settled on an inexpensive temporary red balloon.”
Thank you

321V: A Gazing Ball And Balloons (Solved)

So when I was in 6th grade (1992), I had a wonderful teacher. She pushed us to read and loved books herself. We had a project at the end of the year. I can’t remember if this description I’m about to give you is of 2 books or one. My 11 year old son is an avid reader and I’d love to find this/these books for him.

There was a gazing ball (like a mirrored one) in a garden. It was not scary, maybe some mystery but definitely not scary. Maybe a young girl.

And my other memory is of a hot air balloon. I feel like there were a lot of people on the balloon. It could have been actual balloons and not the hot air version. And I want to say they were on a huge piece of wood not a basket. I’m thinking it may have been an award winning book but I’m not for sure on that either. I have no idea if it is one book or two and this has driven me crazy for years. I’ve looked it up every way I know how.