Parents' Guide to

Hot Air: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Hot-Air Balloon Ride

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 4+

Pretty, silly tale of balloon flight by animals.

Hot Air: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Hot-Air  Balloon Ride Poster Image

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Is It Any Good?

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This unique book begins and ends with historical information, and in the middle is a silly, wordless picture book that anthropomorphizes the slapstick antics of the three animal heroes. It's easy to see why it won a Caldecott honor: It is gorgeously illustrated in detailed pen, ink, and watercolor paintings filled with clever and humorous details that reward close inspection. For instance, in some panels the clouds in the background take on interesting shapes, while elements in earlier pictures, such as an arrow and a bird, come to play prominent parts in later ones.

The text, what there is of it, is straightforward, with humorous touches. All together it makes for an entertaining, if somewhat schizophrenic, tale.

Book Details

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