Hot Air (Hardcover) by Marjorie Priceman. Atheneum, 2005. ISBN: 9780689826429. pp: 40. Ages: 4-8, gr: k-3



Marjorie Priceman takes the historical setting of the first hot-air balloon flight in 1783 and tells the story from a different perspective — the three animal passengers. While based on facts with actual persons from history mentioned, the author leaves lots of wiggle room for the story told by the animals through the illustrations.


  1. Practice the pronunciation of the names Etienne and Montgolfier.

  2. Discuss how the story ended from the pictures and the text. Work with a partner or in small groups to write an alternate ending to the story. Use either pictures, text, or both.

  3. The animals only use their animal sounds once the story of their flight begins. Take the part of a narrator and tell what is happening. As a group activity, each student can take a two-page spread to narrate.

  4. Add to the story by thinking of another adventure the animals might have had before they landed.

  5. Three important leaders in history are mentioned in the beginning of the story. Find out more about Benjamin Franklin, Kind Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette.

  6. Find other things that happened in the year 1783. What was happening in the United States in the 1780s?

  7. Make a hot-air balloon.
    Younger students - Use construction paper and markers to design your own hot-air balloon.
    Older students - Make a papier-mache balloon.

  8. Make a hot-air balloon mobile for your room.

  9. Read about the first successful flight by a human in a hot-air balloon. When and where did it take place? Do you think anyone could fly around the world in a hot-air balloon without landing? Note: See "More for the teacher" below.

  10. Write a newspaper article about the flight. Remember to tell who, what, when, why, where and how.

  11. Find France on a globe. The Palace of Versailles is close to Paris. Find Paris on a globe or map.

  12. Find out more about the Palace of Versailles in France. What other things happened at the Palace of Versailles?

  13. Use number facts in the story to create word problems. Use either numbers describing the Palace or numbers found on the back inside cover describing the balloon.

  14. List what you learned about hot-air balloons by reading the story. Did anything surprise you?

About the Author


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Hot Air. Accelerated Reader: Quiz #87582 EN; Book Level 2.9; Points= 0.5
Reading Counts: Reading Level 2.1; Points= 1.0
Lexile Level 690

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