Up Up in a Balloon
by Lawrence F. Lowery

Price at time of review: $10.95
36 pp.
Arlington, VA
ISBN: 9781938946141

Grade Level: K-6

Reviewed by Adah Stock
Master Teacher and a Science Education Consultant

History is interesting, especially when it comes in the form of an endearing story that is well illustrated and fun to read. This book describes the story of how man first flew above the Earth’s surface like the birds do.

The reader learns about the Montgolfier brothers, Joseph and Jacques, who were interested in learning how to make bags rise in the air when heat was added. Their curiosities lead to the very first hot air balloon. Later, experimenting with a newly discovered gas called hydrogen, they noticed that this gas, when filled in a balloon, could float above the Earth. This eventually led to the very first time a human, Pilatre de Rozier, floated above the Earth with the birds. This colorfully illustrated story introduces the reader to the beginning of human endeavors to explore above the earth.

This volume is one of five whose content focuses on Earth science in the “I Wonder Why” series. The stories are all beautifully illustrated on each page. The introduction for adults is identical for all five volumes. Within the introduction the reader learns what scientists do and how they do it. One finds a brief summary of the Earth science topic for each book. The author assures the reader that the content of each book correlates to national science standards. What make each book unique are the last two pages. In this book there are two pages called ‘Parents/Teachers Handbook’. There is more information about the science content of the book and about the inquiry process. The last page contains four activities: seeing the effects of warm air in a paper bag, observing that warmer air seems to be above cooler air, observing that air moving rapidly across the top surface of a wing causes it to lift, and experimenting to see what effect differently shaped wings have on flight.

As each story unfolds, the reader learns factual science information and about the ways of scientists. Both teachers and parents have opportunities to learn more through content and simple activities they can do with young children. These activities require materials easily found around the home. This series is a must have for both educators and adults who wish to foster wonder and curiosity about the natural world in the lives of the young children around them.

Review posted on 8/14/2013

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