Balloon Trees
Balloons do come from trees—rubber trees. Told in rhyme, the story follows the wide variety of steps involved in making the air-filled decorations we all know and love. Starting with the tapping of the rubber tree, the ship that carries the liquid rubber to the factory, and the manufacturing process itself; readers will learn just how that balloon arrived at his or her house. This delightful, fun-to-read-aloud story is sure to give readers a new appreciation for balloons. key phrases for educators: change in state of matter, production of goods (how things are made), natural resources, transportation of goods, geography
Written by Danna Smith
Illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein
32 pg, 10 X 8.5, Ages 4-8, Grades PK-3
Lexile: AD 730, AR: 2.60, RC: TBD, F&P: L
Hardcover ISBN: 9781607186120, $17.95
Paperback ISBN: 9781607186243, $9.95
Educator Keywords:   natural resources, production of goods, transportation, earth science, social studies, rhyme, sequencing
Animals in the book:   -
Purchase:   Books eBooks Stuffed Animals

"Rhyming couplets and effective illustrations describe the general process by which latex is extracted from trees, converted into a colorful mix, shaped into forms, treated and sent to stores to be sold as balloons. Each double-page spread shows a separate step, watched over by what looks like a warbler with an observant eye. (Sharp-eyed observers will even see him through the red balloon on the cover.) At one point, the bird even comes close to becoming part of the process, shaking off the powder that coats each latex form after cooking. As in Smith’s Two at the Zoo (2009), the rhyming text scans well, making this a good choice for an informational read-aloud even for preschoolers."(January 2013)
Kirkus Reviews

"K-Gr 2–With a little green tropical bird on every spread, the process of balloon making is outlined. Bright, full-color illustrations show the steps of harvesting and processing sap from rubber trees, shipping it to factories, and forming it into balloons of all sizes, shapes, and colors. Two lines of rhyming text on every page pulsate with action and engage readers: “The forms are flipped then dipped in quick–/a trick to make the color stick.” These words must be read aloud to enjoy the internal rhyming and wonderful use of language. Back matter has activities that amplify the learning and a discussion of rubber as a natural resource. Beautiful, fun, and informative–a complete success."–Frances E. Millhouser, formerly at Fairfax County Public Library, VA (June 2013)
School Library Journal

"...sure to interest curious young readers. The book describes all the steps in the balloon-making process, including singling out some balloons to be tested for quality. Few readers will have any idea of all the work that goes into producing the balloons that make a party festive. The colorful illustrations add to the book's interest, and make the subject even more interesting. Reading this book is bound to give readers a newfound appreciation for the story behind those short-lived rubber products that are so much fun to blow up, tie in a knot, and then bounce across a room or outside." (March 2013)
Reading Today Online

Author/Illustrator Info:

Danna Smith received excellent reviews for Pirate Nap and Two at the Zoo, which was featured in Parenting Magazine and is a Raising Readers board book special edition. The inspiration for her most recent book, Balloon Trees, came from her husband’s line of work running a rubber manufacturing plant. Although his company makes industrial rubber products, Danna chose to follow the creation of a fun product that is near and dear to a child’s heart: the balloon. She lives in Northern California with her husband, two grown children, and their cocker spaniel, Peanut. Visit her website at

Laurie Allen Klein has been a freelance artist for nearly 25 years. Over the last several years, she has worked as the on-staff artist for a marine park, where she does everything from painting life-size sea animal murals to illustrating children’s activity books. In addition to The Ghost of Donley Farm, Laurie has illustrated Fur and Feathers, Where Should Turtle Be?, Little Skink’s Tail, Solar System Forecast, Meet the Planets, If a Dolphin Were a Fish and Balloon Trees for Arbordale. She was the winner of the Outstanding Pennsylvania Author/Illustrator Award from the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association in 2008 and is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Laurie lives in Florida. See more of her artwork at

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