Perfect Picture Book Friday: Hot Air + Activity

Brrr…we’re in the middle of a cold spell here in the Northeast. But never fear, we’ll soon warm things up with our Perfect Picture Book selection for today. My next nonfiction picture book story is going to be about balloon flights, so I’ve been researching books that are already out there and came across this very funny one.

hot air

Hot Air

Written and illustrated by Marjorie Priceman

Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (2005)

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Early balloon flight, animals, humor


Opening Lines:

“Thousands of people have come to watch an incredible experiment at the palace of Versailles in France.Ah, Versailles! 700 rooms! 67 staircases! 15 fountains! 2000 acres of manicured gardens! Too many chandeliers, paintings,and gold bathtubs to count!

But enough of that!”



From Booklist: Combining fact and fancy, Priceman tells the story of the successful 1783 liftoff of a hot-air balloon, invented by the Montgolfier brothers, a flight made even more special because of its passengers: a duck, a sheep, and a rooster. Priceman sets the scene in several picture-text spreads, then segues into a nearly wordless visual narrative of the animals’ comedic encounters with a clothesline, a boy with bow and arrow, a flock of birds, and more, capturing everything in buoyant artwork full of swirls and clever details (the balloon moves past animal-shaped clouds). The history, highlighted in an illustrated time line at the end of the book, takes a backseat to the humorous antics of the animals. As for the truth? Priceman claims she “heard this part of the story from a duck, who heard it from a sheep, who heard it from a rooster a long, long time ago.”


Why I like this book:

  • This book won a Caldecott Honor…the illustrations are quite a lot of fun.
  • When I first heard about what had happened back in 1783, I immediately thought it would make a great picture book story…and then I discovered someone else had had the same idea, but way before me…it’s the type of story that can get a kid interested in science without even knowing it.


How a parent can use this book:

  • The illustrations are so detailed…see what your child observes…check out the page where the balloon floats past clouds that are shaped just like the animals in the basket!


balloon-activities-for-kids-433x650Photo courtesy:

For details, please visit:

For more balloon fun and a hot air balloon project:

For one of the most amazing hot air balloon festivals:

For more Perfect Picture Book Friday fun, please hop over to Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog where you will find lots of other picture book reviews and activities.

When you go to the library with your kids, are there some books they grab off the shelf? Are there some they aren’t interested in listening to, even though you think it’s a great book?  I’m curious because my 7-year old grandson knows exactly what he does and doesn’t want to hear.

To watch one of the largest balloon festivals in the USA:

Have you ever been up in a hot air balloon? If you haven’t, would you want to? Please share in the comments…I’d love to hear.

Thank you so much for stopping by.

About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever Mom of 3, educator, author of FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK (Pomegranate Press, 2019), PIPPA'S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, 2019), FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY WE MOVE (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, 2019), picture book junkie, lover of travel, hiking, fly-fishing, cooking, and playing Monopoly with my 9-year old grandson.

Posted on January 8, 2016, in Craft activities for kids, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I can’t remember if we’ve read this one! The opening is interesting … as in not sure how I feel about it. I think we’ve read this one before, but I think it needs a second look. Hope you warm up. A bit of snow here. 🙂


  2. Yes balloons have been around for years and they will never disappear so much fun, but 30 ways to play with balloons, there’s some thought put into this idea.
    Thanks for sharing I haven’t come across it yet, but will keep my eyes open.


  3. My granddaughters love balloons. This sounds like a great book all kids would love as well as the crafts/activities using balloons. Thanks for sharing Vivian!


  4. Doesn’t mean you can’t find your own angle to share this story in a new, fresh way. It sounds like a fun story.


  5. This is a great true story! Thanks for reminding me of it – need to go back for another look.


  6. Such a marvelous story! I read this book some time ago. I think it’s time to check it out again for a little warm reading on a very cold day. The snow has turned to ice here–not friendly to walk on, but a pure joy for my daughter and her friends to sled on. Thanks for sharing and reminding me of this treasure for PPBF! Stay warm, Vivian.


  7. Isn’t that such a great opening. I think this is a great mentor text for writing gripping nonfiction!


  8. I love that it can get your child interested in science without meaning to. Terrific suggestion, Vivian. I Love the cover. And activities.


  9. This sounds like a nice book!


  1. Pingback: Picture Book Hot Air Balloon | Book for Children

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