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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

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  1,228 Ratings  ·  163 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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Rating details
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Jan 23, 2009 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.
Jennifer (JenIsNotaBookSnob)
I really liked the illustrations. However, some of the choices were a little strange in an attempt to add humor. Still, I'm sure kids would at least somewhat enjoy it and there are historical tidbits at the beginning and end if you want to teach a bit of history too. Might be fun to use in a lesson plan about mass or the history of air travel or something along those lines.
Seema Rao
Illustrations in the flowing graphic style of 50's advertising illustrations tells the story of a bunch of animals who find themselves in the midst of high adventure.
Elizabeth Menchaca
Oct 01, 2014 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
Sydney Funk
Nov 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-summaries
• The story of the first hot air balloon flight is much more interesting than expected. The first passengers aboard this exciting new mode of transportation were braver than most men. This colorful masterpiece by Marjorie Priceman deserved the Caldecott honor it received in 2006.
• Pre-k – 2nd grade
• I would use this in a history, science class or in an English class.
• Individual students that may enjoy this book include students that are interested in inventions, adventures or animals.
• I wou
Aug 16, 2012 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
Jan 27, 2015 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
Kendra Ellett
Oct 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book reminds me of the graphic novel genre in the way that there are few words, so the pictures carry the story. And I can see why this book won the Caldecott award because the expressions of the animals are so well done that this book didn't need any words to convey the storyline. Not to mention I thought the animal drawings were adorable.

This picture book has a deeper context, as it highlights a real historical event of the Montgolfier brothers' and their hot air balloons. I thought this
Jun 30, 2016 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
Sarah Stevens
Jan 24, 2016 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.
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is. children's historical fiction. It takes the real life event of the 1783 hot air balloon launch in Versailles. The background information is accurate when it mentions that the Montgolfiers were the inventors of the hot air balloon and barnyard animals were the first passengers, however the actual story of their time in the balloon is fiction. In a mostly wordless picture book the sheep, duck, and chicken show a humor journey of their trip in the hot air balloon and overcoming many s ...more
Madilyn Holman
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Hot Air was a book that initially caught my eye because of the bright colors and illustrations. The book is based off of true factual information. It is based off of the world's first hot-air balloon flight. To me that is really interesting. This book is a children's book that not only entertains but informs. Some of the pages are long and use words that children might have a tough time understanding. One thing I didn't really enjoy about the book is that for at least 10 pages there was little t ...more
Wendy Weaver
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very cute story. I love the perspective from barn yard animals and the ending clearing up the true and untrue parts of the story. The illustrations are amazing and the award is well deserved! I also love the in the beginning of the story the author really has the reader understand the setting and where this is taking place. You know what kind of people are standing around and where in the world you are. very cleaver

Grade level:k-2
Genre: Historical fiction
Jennifer Christiansen
Jun 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
Not a great book for animal lovers. Really? Were the animals brave? Or were they forced up there? Reminds me of the regret that some scientists had after sending a "sweet dog" into orbit. It's not the fault of the author or illustrator, but I'd discuss the truth about our use of animals at the very least.
Patricia McCowan
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ed438-picture
This story is about the very first hot air balloon ride. A duck, sheep, and rooster get caught in the balloon and goes up for a ride. The illustration really tells most of the story and are very bright and colorful with a wispy feel. There are very few words and some pages have none at all so the book is really good for early readers. Cute book but did not really interest me.
Maria Rowe
• 2006 Caldecott Honor Book •

Fun, colorful book about the first hot-air balloon ride. It wasn't what I was expecting - it was mostly a wordless book, but it did have some historical information at the end.

Materials used: unlisted
Typeface used: Celestia Antiqua
Dec 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
Great little picture book! Listened to a podcast on What You Missed In History Class all about this. So fun to share it with my kids!
Rachel Hancock
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderfully charming book. It teaches about the first Hot Air balloon ride. The book is beautifully illustrated and at the end there is a timeline of the real first hot-air balloon ride.
Nov 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
adventures, history, animals, hot air balloon; Would recommend for second grade
Jo Oehrlein
Feb 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Many of the pages of this book are wordless, but there's a lot of context for the story up front and then a closing, so I don't think it can be accurately described as wordless.

It's about the Montgolfier balloon ascent at Versailles where some animals were sent in the balloon. This book imagines what happened. It's pretty silly in a fun way.

I'd say the pages with words are the True part and the wordless pages are the imaginative part.

It's a cool book, but I don't imagine it being re-read lots.
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
Jenna Mitchell
Mar 06, 2017 rated it liked it
While there are some learning points added into this story, which makes it a fun addition to story time, there are many sections that are just pictures. I'm not a huge fan of purely picture books for any child that is old enough to sit and listen to a "big kid" book.
Sep 30, 2016 rated it it was ok
This book was not what I had imagined. The very beginning had a TON of words and vocabulary that went way over the kids' heads. Yet the rest of the book had simple language and relied on pictures. The class had a hard time following the layout.
Gabriella Bumbaca
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-lit
Genre: Contemporary Realistic Fiction
Grade Range: 2-3
This is a very funny story and I enjoyed reading it. It had a good balance of education and humor. I could see it being a great hook to a lesson of the invention of hot air balloons and how they work. It is definitely not your typical history book!
Feb 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Shelby Winstead
Sep 25, 2013 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
Rachel White
Sep 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 19, 2012 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
Christian Wallace
Feb 25, 2015 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
Rocio Martin
Sep 20, 2015 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
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