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The Amazing Air Balloon (Phyllis Fogelman Books) Hardcover – March 10, 2003


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Hardcover, March 10, 2003
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
  • Lexile Measure: 370L (What's this?)
  • Series: Phyllis Fogelman Books
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Dial (March 10, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803722583
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803722583
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.4 x 11.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,198,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 5-Beginning with the endpapers (replicas of 1784 advertisements for a hot-air-balloon exhibition and the newspaper account of its success), Van Leeuwen sets the stage for this tale told through the eyes of 13-year-old Edward Warren, the first person in America to ascend in a balloon. An author's note explains that although the events themselves are factual and Warren's trip aloft has been documented, not much is known about this brave young orphaned apprentice who volunteered to take the first experimental ride. This appealing narrative weaves the established facts with imaginative details of his life. Ventura's oil paintings capture the flavor of the times with crowd scenes that resemble the foreshortened, stiffly posed figures of Colonial times. They alternate with beautifully detailed, realistic renderings of the main characters. Not only will this picture book stir readers' interest in this particular balloon flight, but it will also attract the attention of students studying the time period or learning about the history of aviation. Anik McGrory's Mouton's Impossible Dream (Harcourt, 2000) describes the original launching in France the year before Warren's adventure, but it is told through the eyes of a stowaway sheep and appeals to a younger audience.
Laurie Edwards, West Shore School District, Camp Hill, PA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 1-3. On June 24, 1784, in Baltimore, 13-year-old Edward Warren became the first person in America to go up in a hot-air balloon. In this picture book, Van Leeuwen lets the boy tell his own story, which focuses more on his passion for flight than on the significance of this moment in aviation history. There is, however, still information here: children will learn that tavern-keeper Peter Carnes, who built the balloon, was too heavy to risk going up, which gave daring, young Edward the opportunity to make his dream of flight come true. In an afterword, Van Leeuwen notes that little about Warren is actually known, which may account for the book's rather abrupt ending. Full-page oil paintings are both realistic and solemn as they reflect the colonial times, and two newspaper articles written by Carnes at the time of the actual event appear on the endpapers. Pair this with Anik McGrary's Mouton's Impossible Dream (2000) for an interesting classroom spotlight on early aviation. Julie Cummins
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

The Amazing Air Balloon is a fictional story based on true events. The book tells the story of Edward Warren, a 13-year-old boy who was the first person in America to ride in a hot air balloon. The story is told from Edward's perspective, focusing on his life as an orphan and blacksmith's apprentice, and his dream to fly. Peter Carnes, a tavern proprietor, had built many air balloons and sent them up for test flights, but he had not built up the courage to try flying in one himself. He planned to exhibit the balloon in Baltimore on June 24, 1784, but when the day came, he feared that the balloon would not hold his weight. Edward volunteered and made history. The book contains an author's note describing the hot air balloon craze that began soon after the American Revolution. The author also explains that all that is known about Edward is his name and age, and that she had to imagine the rest of the details of the story.

I would recommend this book for ages 6 through 9. Children in this age group are beginning to develop expanding interests and will enjoy learning the story of hot air balloons. They are also beginning to develop independence, and will be inspired by the initiative and heroism shown by Edward. This book will also give children developing an understanding of time concepts a feeling of what life was like in 18th Century America. I would use this book in a school setting with students learning about this time period. It would also be appropriate to use with children studying aviation history. The oil paintings in the book highlight the events in the book as they occur. The realistic paintings of the characters and land accurately reflect the setting. In addition, the book's endpapers feature two newspaper articles written in 1874 about the actual events.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on April 20, 2003
The Amazing Air Balloon by Jean Van Leeuwen is a remarkable and true story about aviation history set back in 1784 colonial America, when for the first time a hot air balloon was flown with a human passenger, -- who happened to be a thirteen-year-old boy. Evocative oil paintings by Marco Ventura showcase the narration to mark The Amazing Air Balloon as a truly wonderful picture book account of ambition and dreams come true.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Seeker on March 12, 2008
This is a wonderful fictional tale based on historical facts about the first American, a thirteen year old boy, to go up in a balloon with actual copies of newspaper clippings. One article was written by Benjamin Franklin!

The story is well done and the history well researched, including some quotes by men in our history, but here is an example of the grammar (these are the beginning of the paragraphs):

"We will see, gentlemen," he said. And he built another balloon.

But that could not be. I was bound to earth. Bound to the hard labor of a blacksmith's apprentice until I was twenty-one....

Only a few days remained before the exhibition. Mr. Carnes planned one last test flight. And this time, everyone said, he would go up with it.

But the hoop that surrounded the balloon was broken.

More than anything, I longed to go to Baltimore for his exhibition. But that was thirty miles away. And I was not free to go....

I am truly surprised and saddened that reviewers overlook the grammar! From my experience, children reading stories written with poor grammar will learn to write with poor grammar.
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