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

3.75  ·  Rating Details  ·  908 Ratings  ·  126 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 is 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,816)
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Jan 23, 2009 Kathryn rated it liked it
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.
Jun 30, 2016 Kara rated it it was amazing

Almost 200 years before rocket scientists were blasting monkeys, dogs and cats into space, two inventors wanted to test their "hot air balloon" idea out by seeing what would happened to a duck, a rooster and a sheep if placed in the basket of the first full sized hot air balloon and allowed to ascended to such untested heights.

This story focuses on the reactions of the animal to the unusual predicament they find themselves in. Light on text and heavy on hilarious illustrations using sight gags t
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
Oct 01, 2014 Elizabeth Menchaca rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 16, 2012 Laura rated it really liked it
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
Sarah Stevens
Jan 24, 2016 Sarah Stevens rated it it was amazing
Shelves: edre-314
I thought this was a very cute book. On the back page and back inside cover there was lots of historical information about hot air balloons to help give you more insight about the feat that hot air balloons are. And the fact that the three main characters are animals and act like animals {there is no personification or talking animals} it lets the reader imagine what the animals\characters are feeling.
Christian Wallace
Feb 25, 2015 Christian Wallace rated it really liked it
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
Feb 14, 2014 Sarah rated it liked it
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
Sep 13, 2015 Sara rated it really liked it
Plot summary and personal response:
Hot Air is about the first hot-air balloon ride and the passengers thereof. The book starts out with a description of the historical event while hiding view of the passengers. Once the balloon is air-borne, the passengers are revealed. At this point the story is near wordless and the illustrations show one possibility of the adventure those passengers had. When the balloon lands, the story concludes with fact and fiction about the balloon ride explained. Addit
Oct 21, 2014 Claire rated it liked it
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
Feb 17, 2014 Gianna Parisi rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 04, 2014 Aubry rated it it was amazing
Shelves: libs-642
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
May 14, 2016 Haizelbear rated it liked it
Shelves: ed-230h
This books tells a"mostly true" story about the first hot air balloon ride. Apparently farm animals were actually sent up in the air balloon, although the specific animals, and what happened to them while they were up in the air is not known. In this story, the animals have many adventures, including having arrows shot at them by young boy as they pass him by. The illustrations feature very bright colors, and look like they were done with some kind of paint. I would use this book to before teach ...more
Rocio Martin
Nov 23, 2015 Rocio Martin marked it as to-read
Priceman, M. (2005). Hot air: The (mostly) true story of the first hot-air balloon ride. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.
Review: In this retelling of the first ever Hot-Art balloon ride we follow the journey taken by a rooster, sheep, and duck. On their journey in the hot-air balloon the animals go on a wild adventure in which they encounter fountains, and clothing lines all while not understanding what is really happening. Set in France, in the Versailles Castle the reader is transpo
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
Sep 19, 2012 Brad rated it liked it
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
Sep 19, 2012 Loren Max rated it liked it
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
Sep 25, 2013 Shelby Winstead rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 06, 2011 L11-Mary Utterback rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 25, 2011 Rebecca Hipps rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 22, 2015 Maggie rated it really liked it
Shelves: 577-the-list
Caldecott Honor (2006)

Told mostly in panels of brightly-colored, cartoonish illustration, the only real text in the book introduces it with some historical place and people names, then quickly says "-but enough about that." The real story is the duck, the rooster and the sheep flying high in the hot air balloon! lots of opportunity to discuss with children what they see happening in the pictures, giving them opportunity to narrate the stories themselves
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.
Sep 08, 2015 Charlotte rated it it was ok
Shelves: kids
This one was a bit of a let-down. It started off great with the historical setting but that took about two pages. Then it devolved into nothing but farm animals floating around in a hot air balloon making sounds. I'm not sure who the audience for this book is. We wanted more meat about the science/history/politics behind the first balloon flight.
Bvlmc Buchanan Verplanck Elementary School
A mix of story, historical writing, book without words and short picture book type sentences, this book describes the first hot air balloon flight in 18th century France. Ranging from a description of the crowd assembled to watch the test flight to the imaginary adventures of the test pilots, this book has something for readers of all ages.
The very first hot-air balloon is about to take off from Versailles. And the fearless pilots to ride this historic flight is a rooster, a sheep, and a duck. The author/illustrator uses pictures to imagine what their experience might have been like. The back of the book contains a factual account of the history of the hot air balloon.
Lauren Sharp
Informational Book 8
The first hot air balloon ride took place in France. Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier were the two who invented the hot air balloon. The two put a lamb, chicken, and a duck into the basket. The story then follows the animals in the sky through pictures. They land safely and everyone is very excited.
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
Mar 30, 2015 Mathew Horvatich rated it liked it
Shelves: book-selection
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.
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