From the Publisher
"llustrations are chock-a-block with goofy shenanigans that demand several viewings."
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"A tale that's sure to soar with young readers."
"Priceman's wonderful, vivacious black ink and watercolor paintings... add motion and buoyancy to an already soaring tale of a historic hot-air balloon ride."
Priceman (Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin) offers a hilarious account of the world's first hot-air balloon flight in 1783 at Versailles. Opening with an amusing reportage ("The amateur inventors Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier are ready to test an exciting new kind of transportation.... So, never mind the important people and splendid surroundings. Pay no attention to that little dog or that lady with the towering hairdo"), the text directs readers' attention to the comically expressive animal aviators inside the balloon's basket-a duck, a sheep and a rooster. "This is their story," a four-paneled scene declares, the wide-eyed trio timidly peering above the aloft basket's rim. The book's tour de force is a series of comical wordless spreads depicting the threesome's (imagined) airborne adventures during the eight-minute flight, which ends when "they are greeted with flowers, song, and better food than usual." The humor ranges from the subtle (the sheep and the duck baa and quack, respectively, at the ground below, but the rooster moos when cows come into view) to the more slapstick (e.g., the sheep uses its wooly rump as a bumper to avoid a deflating collision with a steeple, while the duck covers its eyes). Priceman separates her signature flowing-line and vibrant watercolor wash illustrations into halves and quadrants to maintain a lively pace. The story is not all hot air: a short, illustrated chronicle of the Montgolfier balloon experiments concludes this wonderfully embellished version. A tale that's sure to soar with young readers. Ages 4-8. (July) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-Inventive illustrations depict the true story of the duck, sheep, and rooster that were "ballooning's first brave passengers" when the Montgolfiers tested their hot-air balloon in 1783. The first three spreads set the stage with lively conversational descriptions of the scene before the balloon takes off. A dramatic shift on the fourth page turn reveals the befuddled animal passengers as they ascend. Most of the remaining text is wordless, with occasional "quacks," "baas," and "cock-a-doodle-doos." With vibrant colors and varied use of panels, full-page illustrations, and spreads, Priceman paces the tale perfectly. An early four-panel scene showing the balloon at various heights while the animals try to figure out what's going on is priceless. So is the spread in which all three become attached to windblown laundry. The voyagers' progress is easy to follow, and events along the way are delightfully rendered. A time line on the endpapers fills in some of the historical data, but this "(mostly) true" version (which the author "heard-from a duck, who heard it from a sheep, who heard it from a rooster a long, long time ago") is just the way it should have happened. Sarah Wilson's Three in a Balloon (Scholastic, 1990; o.p.) covers the same event nicely, but this intriguing historical episode stands up to varied presentations, as Priceman's dynamic visual storytelling ably demonstrates.-Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
On September 19, 1783, thousands of people visited Versailles to witness the launching of the Montgolfier brothers' new-fangled hot-air balloon. "Ballooning's first brave passengers," as it turns out, were a duck, a sheep and a rooster. Priceman sets the stage for this historic event in the funniest, breeziest way imaginable, imploring readers to pay no mind to the hows and whys but instead to focus on the brave passengers, hilariously depicted as bug-eyed with fear, shown from above as the balloon goes up, up and away. From here on out, the book is almost wordless, presenting the trembling trio in comic strip-like panels as the barnyard animals become entangled in flyaway laundry and encounter various dangerously pointy objects, from a boy's mischievous arrow (it proves helpful later) to a church spire (softened by an aforementioned sock) to the sharp-beaked bird who ultimately sends them spiraling. Priceman's wonderful, vivacious black-ink and watercolor paintings-packed with comical details-add motion and buoyancy to an already soaring tale of a historic hot-air balloon ride. (author's note, brief history of Montgolfier's balloons) (Picture book. 4-8)