Hot-Air Henry

by Mary Calhoun
Play a Slide Show with Erick Ingraham reading the story
A Reading Rainbow Book
[Go to the Reading Rainbow Site]

ISBN 0-688-22186-6 (Trade edition)
ISBN 0-688-32186-0 (Library edition)
ISBN 0-688-04068-3 (Paperback)

1981 Published by William Morrow 
1984 Published by Mulberry Books


Lilting text and breathtaking illustrations combine to create a picture-book flight into fantasy that is a tour de force. It all begins when a sassy Siamese cat named Henry stows away in a hot-air balloon and takes off into the wild blue yonder. Leaving The Man and The Kid far below, Henry sails out over the countryside, enjoying the scenery and the exhilaration of the dizzying heights. But Henry learns there is more to ballooning than just watching the clouds go by. Before the fur-raising flight is over, he and his balloon are put at the mercy of a sharp-beaked eagle, blown into the middle of a flock of honking, hissing geese, and led dangerously close to the high power lines on Colson Hill. Triumphantly Henry meets the challenge of the sky and, with a strategic show of humility, returns to his owners. Admirers of Cross-Country Cat will be equally enchanted by the further adventures of daredevil Henry, as he cautiously, then confidently masters the sport of hot-air ballooning.


If you accepted Henry the cat's superior intelligence and ability in Cross-Country Cat you'll be charmed by his quick study of hot-air ballooning. Here Henry's jump aboard the readied balloon accidentally triggers its takeoff; aloft alone, Henry enjoys his predicament until he realizes he wants to descend but doesn't know how. Ingraham's accompanying illustrations are exquisite and strikingly original in their play with complex height perspectives. The full-color* paintings feature refined, muted textures broken by effective details like basket weaves, the balloon canopy lines, or the feathery ridges of Canada geese. The balloon itself is a colorful punch against the blue-gray wintry landscape; close-ups of it and its interior smartly reinforce the story's aura of breathy adventure."--BOOKLIST 10/81

"...Ingraham's full-color* paintings are spectacular illustrations that enrich the story and also show the operations of the hot-air craft from many aspects."--PUBLISHERS WEEKLY 7/81
(*"full-color," a term used mistakenly. The actual process used was 'pre-separated four-color', achieved through the use of graphite pencil, graphite dust, India ink, and gray "normacolor" on four different sheets of matte polyester film.) EI

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