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

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  687 ratings  ·  110 reviews
The first "manned" hot-air balloon is about to take off! But what are those noises coming from the basket?
Based on the (POSSIBLY) true report of a day in 1783, this si the story of (PERHAPS) the bravest collection of flyers the world has ever seen, as (SORT OF) told to Marjorie Priceman.
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published July 1st 2005 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published June 21st 2005)
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Caldecott Honor Books
141st out of 246 books — 144 voters
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List for #nerdcott
325th out of 335 books — 34 voters

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Community Reviews

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So not what I was hoping for! Maybe this would amuse very small children--but I found it too sparse. The majority of the book is only a pictorial representation of the flight of the barnyard animals in the balloon. It's such a cute idea, though--I just think the historical aspect will be lost on little kids.
Jan 27, 2015 Kim added it
Shelves: children-s-lit
Hot Air is an original story for multiple reasons. Only a few of the pages have text on them; the rest of the story is told through very colorful illustrations that keep the reader's attention. Priceman has chosen a rather unique topic for her story, and goes even further than this. The story is based on a real event in history, and contains historically accurate information on the back page. Priceman's topic choice influences her vocabulary, allowing her to introduce higher-level words and hist ...more
Elizabeth Menchaca
As stated on the cover of book, this is “the (mostly) true story of the first hot air balloon ride" Many Important people have gathered at the beautiful palace of Versailles in France to witness this historic event but the story is not about that. This is the tale of the three brave individuals; a duck a, sheep and a rooster who have been given the honor of going on this adventure. On their journey across the skies of France they experience many exciting and frightening things but they endure it ...more
What happened on the first hot air balloon ride? Well, no one really knows because the first passengers were a duck, sheep, and rooster. Marjorie Priceman gives some background about the first flight in France and then creates a nearly wordless story about the adventures of these three animals. They get tangled in laundry, fill their basket with water, and quack, baaa, and cock-a-doodle-doo their way safely to the ground. The end pages include details about the Montgolfier brothers' early balloo ...more
Christian Wallace
Personal Reaction- I absolutely loved the illustration in this book and I think that they help to carry the story. The is mostly a fictional account of the first hot air balloon flight. The book starts off historically accurate by giving a correct representation of the setting, inventors, and historical figures that were present in that time, but then takes the reader on a wild ride that is very much imaginative. What we know happened was that there were animals in the first flight but this is t ...more
Characters: a duck, a sheep, a rooster
Setting: Versaille, France. September 19, 1783. A hot air balloon.
Intended audience: primary and upper grade level

A partially wordless book, Hot Air tells the ("mostly true") story of three animals who take the world's first hot air balloon ride, and the antics which ensue. The pictures are large, bright, and vibrant-- at times overwhelming-- and are displayed using multiple frames on a page, with several full-page pictures as well. Other than the first few
This book tells a partially true story of the first time a hot-air-balloon took to the sky. The majority of the book aside from the introduction and summary at the end, is wordless. The story is told through the pictures alone and readers get to follow along and watch as animals ensue on a crazy hot air balloon ride. What is actually acurate and what is spread by rumor is up for your discretion, I suggest you give it a read to see the adventures of the animals as they took to the sky.

The theme o
Gianna Parisi
Hot Air written by Marjorie Priceman is a fantastic story book written about the very first hot air balloon ride with a rooster, a duck, and a sheep. The illustrations in this story book are phenomenal. I would use this boon in my third grade class. I love how the beginning of the book sets up the story by using narration and pictures then in the middle of the boom just pictures are used to tell the story. The conclusion of the book is a short paragraph with pictures. The pictures are very detai ...more
Jana Giles
At first, I was drawn to this book because the cover was so beautiful. Then, I read through the story. It is a beautiful story. I felt draw to what happened next with the hot air balloon. It was easy on the eyes and made for a fun and exciting story. It takes an unexpected twist when we discover that the first passengers of the first hot air balloon were a duck, sheep, and rooster. The words disappear, and there story is told through amazing pictures. This is a historical fiction story, loosely ...more
Priceman, Marjorie (2005). Hot Air: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Hot-Air Balloon Ride. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Caldecott Honor Book 2006

Choice Book

The story is set in 1783 at the palace of Versailles in France, where the town (and many important people) gathered to watch the demonstration of the first hot air balloon. The passengers were a duck, a sheep, and a rooster. These animals take the ride of their lives in this story that is based on actual events in history. I
I love this one! This book is much more pleasurable if you (or someone else) reads books using sounds, voices, and various sound effects that are not plainly written in the book. Otherwise, you will have a very silent read.

Review for Childrens Lit class: Little text, but large type. Hilarious illustrations and bright colors. Lots of action to look at which tells the story itself. Great book if the reader is good. Honor book.

7/22/10 An excellent choice for school age! Especially with a group that
This was a story I had mixed emotions about. It was a story about introducing the first hot-air balloon ride and takes the reader along on the journey with a duck, rooster, and sheep. I believe it is trying to be a mixture of a book for both older and younger elementary students but doesn't do a very good job with it. I liked how it began with a back story of the first hot-air balloon ride even though it was a little too wordy for younger children to enjoy for very long. I did like how it kept t ...more
Rachel White
Hot Air: The (Mostly) True Story of The First Hot-Air Balloon Ride is a cute story about a duck, a rooster, and a sheep riding in one of the first hot air balloons which was invented by Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier in 1783. The story starts out by giving a background of the day that the hot air balloon set sail, and then surprises us with the fact that it is barn yard animals aboard the flight. It then starts telling their story of what happened on the flight, which naturally, there is no way ...more
Loren Max
Hot Air The (mostly true story of the first hot-air balloon ride written and illustrated by Marjorie Priceman

I don’t know who won the Caldecott Award in 2005, but that must have been one heck of a book! Hot Air was a Caldecott Honor Book that year and I can very easily see how. This is a wonderful story about the 1st hot air balloon ride, which was flown by a duck, a sheep, and a rooster. The story gives the young readers a lesson in history, and leaves so very much of the story up in the air,
Shelby Winstead
I chose this book as my read-aloud in my group for many reasons. I absolutely loved the story, and I loved the way that Priceman chose to tell the story. The story is about the first ever hot air balloon ride in the history of hot air balloon rides. In Priceman's version, it was flown by a sheep, a rooster and a duck! The book follows their journey in the air as they fly over various cities in France. I thought that the illustrations used in the book were very quirky and fun, and would definitel ...more
L11-Mary Utterback
This is "almost" a wordless picture book. Who would have thought that a story rich with historical facts could be so enticing to children! I loved this book. The story takes place in 1783, in Versailles France. The Montgolfier brothers were determined to create the first manned hot air balloon. Though there were several failed attempts, the one semi-successful trip had a rooster, duck and a sheep in the basket. They were able to float 1,500 feet in the air for over 2 miles before falling back to ...more
Rebecca Hipps
It is impossible not to smile as you read this book. The colorful images and humorous voice of this picturebook bring the first steps into aviation into life. Though the majority of this book is made up of images alone, when text is used, the author uses a varied combination of a playful, orange font (as seen on the cover page) and an old-fashioned, classic style of print. In addition, when the animals make noises, their sounds are displayed with capital letters, increasing in size. This stray f ...more
Caldecott Honor Award winning storybook. The book starts off well enough. The crowd scenes at Versailles. Setting the stage with who is there. And the balloon launches with the farm animals inside, apparently just like it happened. And then the book takes a turn and the rest of it is silly to the point of silliness. Ah well. To each there own, this one would have made a good historical storybook. or an okay something silly. it ended up being neither.
Nathan Dilly
I came across this book in the library and was drawn to it by its artistic and animated cover. It is the somewhat, possibly kind of true story about the first hot air balloon ride. The book is very entertaining at first with a couple of pages that have text to set up the story. The bulk of this book is its illustrations. They are very detailed and colorful pictures of the hot air balloon ride, and the things that the animals saw from up above. There is a lot going on in each picture, and it is r ...more
Caldecott Honor 2005 Cute art. Nice look at Montglofiers' Balloons. There is a brief history in the back of the true balloon flight. But this story is words of "a duck, who heard it from sheep, who heard it from a rooster a long, long time ago." The art shows period costumes, and you get a little history of the Versailles Palace. The animals were sent aloft in a laundry basket, and if you study the art, the animals start hanging their laundry on the balloon ropes, town spires, and the throw the ...more
Mathew Horvatich
I enjoyed reading this story and how it combined history with imagination to be informative but creative at the same time. I was not interested by the illustrations. I noticed that they had a lot of color, but I felt that the pages were to busy almost and bright that it overwhelmed me.
Kristin Campbell
Picture Storybook
Hot Air by Marjorie Priceman is a very funny book! The story's main characters are a sheep, rooster, and duck. These characters fly in the first hot air balloon and have a crazy adventure while up in the air. They fly pretty close to a building, one of them falls out of the balloon, and then a bird flys and pops the balloon. They eventually land safely and become awarded for flying in the first air balloon. This book begins and ends with a brief history of the first hot air ball
3.5 Stars This was an interesting (mostly) True story about the first balloon ride in France. I liked the pictures and even though a lot of it was wordless I still liked it! I want to go on a hot air balloon ride.
Logan Draper
Hot Air is an exciting, almost wordless story about how a duck, a sheep, and a rooster embarked on the first hot air balloon ride. The brightly illustrated pictures show the animals floating through the air, and invite the reader to experience the emotions that the animals are feeling. This book would correspond well with a science lesson for second and third graders on hot air balloons, and why they work. Also, since the book briefly talks about eighteenth century France, the book would also co ...more
This book had some fun illustrations and when there was text is was clever and informative, but the majority of the book was told through illustrations. This is alright and the pictures themselves still tell the story. It's not to the point where children can make up what is happening on their own. I'm not a huge fan of books like this. At the same time this is something certain children will like and it is still informative, telling about the very first hot air balloon ride. The back of the boo ...more
Taylor Howard
This is a almost word-less picture book. It is a story book about the first hot air balloon ride and takes place in 1783 in Versailles, France. A rooster, duck and sheep were in the basket and the pages each told the stories of their wordless adventure. The only words on each page were animal noises. The pictures are very bright and playful and almost abstract at points. i think kids would be interested in this because it is such a goofy story that they would find intriguing. It was a shock that ...more
Michelle Ault
about Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier
-first pioneer of aviation
-tested balloon with sheep (mostly like human), duck (control animal), chicken (bird but cannot fly)
-first manned free balloon flight
Jessica Jones
Word Count: 324
Reading Level: 2.9
Interest Level: P-2
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 2.9 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 87582 (06/17/05) / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:2.1 / points:1.0
Lexile: AD690L

The story takes opens up in 1783, in Versailles France. The Montgolfier brothers were trying to create the first manned hot air balloon.When the brothers finally had a successful trip the basket had a rooster, duck and a sheep in the basket. Floating almost 1,500 feet in the air for over
Sarina Mauerman
This storybook has beautiful illustrations that are very colorful. This would be a great book to use for a unit on inventors in a classroom setting.
My four-year-old son, who is fascinated with hot-air balloons, picked this book out at the library last week.

I liked this book, but didn't quite love it. It felt to me like the book was gauged toward two different age ranges. The first four or five pages and the last page seemed appropriate for school-aged children, the rest seemed appropriate for toddlers. My son is not in school, but nor is he a toddler. He kind of missed out entirely on the story because part of it was too old and the rest o
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