Balloon Trees

School Library Journal - June 2013

"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

Kirkus Reviews - January 2013

"No, these trees don’t bear balloons, but they are the starting place for the production of these popular objects."
"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. As in all this publisher’s books, there are also reproducible learning activities in the backmatter and available on the Web. Here, the four pages include a map showing where rubber trees grow, comprehension games and a text explanation with vocabulary suitable for elementary school readers. A Spanish edition is also available."
"Books for young listeners about how things are made are relatively rare; this one will stretch to fit a variety of goals. (Informational picture book. 4-7)"

Science Books and Films - September 2013

Most children love balloons. Here is a fun book that helps them learn about how rubber balloons are made from rubber trees to local stores. Clear, colorful illustrations and simple but accurate rhyming couplets combine to offer a fun and informative read aloud experience. A small bird acts as a silent guide, inviting the reader to follow its path through the process of balloon production. This is a great book for preschool through 2nd grade story time.

Reading Today Online - March 2013

"...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."

Library Media Connection - October 2013

This is a rhyming picture book that guides the reader through the process of extracting rubber from trees in the rainforest through the balloon manufacturing process. The vibrant illustrations draw the reader to the text; a small bright green bird is always present. “For Creative Minds” provides more information about rubber and how it is harvested. There are true-false questions and answers, a sequencing page, and a page for readers to determine which items contain rubber. This title is a visually appealing process book that is simple and engaging enough for even the youngest readers. It is a perfect example for teachers to use in teaching process writing or sequencing. The instructional value, the nonfiction information, and the fact that the book serves many purposes make it a useful addition to any elementary school library. Recommended
-Jennifer Welch, Librarian, Thomas Crossroads Elementary School Sharpsburg, Georgia

Springfield News Leader - August 2013

“Balloon Trees” by Dana Smith; illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein, ages 4-8. Balloons do come from trees! The simple rhyming text shares the process of balloon manufacturing, beginning with the rubber being harvested from trees.

Do: Find places on a map where rubber plantations exist -- how far does the latex rubber have to travel? Have a scavenger hunt in your house to find other items made from rubber. The book is filled with additional resources, and even more exist for the title on the publisher’s website. You can even learn how to make rubber from the latex in dandelions!

Canadian Teacher Magazine - Jan/Feb 2014

This book is about rubber trees. They use rubber to make balloons. that was a big surprise! One thing that I learned by reading this book is that you need to cook balloons when you are making them. Something else that I learned is that the tap man comes before dawn to tap the trees and get ou the milky oil. I also found out that, before rubber, tires used to be made of wood!

One of my favorite parts was following the little bird on every page. The bird is in the forest with the rubber trees at the beginning of the book. It hops from page to page as it follows the rubber through until it is made into balloons. I also liked the games and activities at the end of the book.

This would be a good book for my teacher. she could teach all teh kids in my class about rubber trees. My friend would like this book because she likes trees. (Review by Luka, age 5, Kindergarten.)

Nonfiction Monday - May 2014

Try this out with a group of kids. Ask them where they think balloons come from. One student will probably tell you the store. Most will shrug their shoulders. Then tell them that balloons come from trees. This will blow their minds. They will ask, “Is there some special tree where you pluck balloons?” You will look smartly at them, pull out a copy of Balloon Trees and proceed to teach your class about rubber.

So Cal City Kids - June 2013

"How could a tree make a balloon?
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 latex balloon arrived at his or her house. This delightful, fun-to-read-aloud story is sure to give readers a new appreciation for balloons. Great for ages 3-8! My son and I enjoyed this book and my 9-year-old son said it was very interesting! Teachers and parents will love the educational section at the end of the book."

Just Another New Blog - April 2013

Balloon Trees is a charming children's rhyming story about how balloons are made. It starts with the rubber trees and covers the whole process - through the factory, onto the truck, and ending at the store. The text and illustrations are simple yet educational. The book is aimed at kids ages 4-8 but even adults can learn a thing or two about rubber trees and latex balloons. My favorite part is the section at the end of the book, For Creative Minds, where curious readers find out more about rubber: where it comes from, how it is used, and what everyday items are made from it. 

A Year of Jubilee Reviews - April 2013

In bright and colorful illustrations by Laurie Klein, Danna Smith tells how a balloon is made from 'balloon trees'. What an excellent book on learning about the Rubber Tree and how it is tapped to get the latex that is later used to make balloons. Much of this information I didn't even know! It was super fun for my little ones to learn something that was new to Mom also.

Heck of a Bunch - April 2013

As an adult I found this book to be very interesting. I learned things about balloons that I didn't know before. With cute illustrations and a rhythmical story flow, kids can learn a lot about balloons and rubber trees. The "For Creative Minds" section in the back of the book further enhances education with a balloon sequencing game, a True or False about rubber, and facts about rubber, a natural resource.

Welcome to our Wonderland - April-2013

I have to say before reading this picture book I never knew or would have thought balloons came from trees. I know I should have but never did, or if I did I forgot. Anyway this is a fun book for kids.What kid doesn't like balloons right? This cute rhyming book tells the whole process from start to finish of how the balloon is made and lands in your home.  My girls loved reading about the process of making balloons.

Eclectic Homeschool Online - May 2013

Did you know that balloons grow on trees? Well, sort of. Balloon Trees provides a look at how latex balloons are made, from tapping rubber trees through the manufacturing process, all the way to the store. Bright, colorful pictures punctuate the rhyming text. It's a science lesson in a fun read-aloud session. A fun follow-up would be to blow up balloons and play balloon "catch" or volleyball(oon), or fill up some water balloons for cool fun on a hot day.

My Mc Books - May 2013

This is a great book that would teach children about how balloons are made and where the rubber used to make them comes from. This book goes into details on how the tappers start at dawn to slice the bark and tie a container to the tree and then the white milky latex drips out and into the container. The containers are then loaded on a tanker and shipped to the factory where a special mix and color is added to the white latex. The balloons are shaped, colored and cleaned put in a box and shipped off to the stores.

Reader's Haven Reviews - May 2013

"I found this book to be just delightful and will use it this summer for my summer reading program at school.  The fun text and pictures make it a good read for small children and the informative nature of the making of rubber makes this a great book for elementary children as well."

Kids Book Review - May 2013

"Isaac loved the green bird in the book and quickly picked up on the fact that he was in every page turn."

Berger's Book Review - June 2013

In addition to the descriptions of how balloons are made, this book also discusses rubber in general. It describes the plantations and tells us a little bit about the workers who harvest the rubber. Interesting and informative, Balloon Trees is perfect for classroom use and is a fun read.

Children's Literary Classics Review - June 2013

"The book Balloon Trees written by Danna Smith and Illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein, answers the question: 'Where do balloons come from?'
For the inquisitive child, Author Danna Smith has hit on a curiosity quenching literary treat. This book will delight young children who are fascinated by the concept of where things come from and how they are made. Told in rhyme, the story begins in a rubber tree plantation where a tree is tapped for sap. Illustrator, Laurie Allen Klein playfully incoporates the aid of a small bird which tags along as the story progresses from forest to factory and beyond. This book is highly recommended as a teaching aid and for school and home libraries. Balloon Trees , earns the Literary Classics Seal of Approval."

3rd Grade Reading - July 2013

Dana Smith’s simplified prose may be a bit deceptive, for the ideas within Balloon Trees are anything but “simple”; her research and collaboration with rubber manufacturers is combined in this book to make a non-fiction description of the route balloons take from beginning to end.  The extra information in the “For Creative Minds” of Balloon Trees also gives resources that allow teachers and students to take learning beyond the pages of Balloon Trees.  Laurie Allen Klein illustrations are nothing short of stunning; the colors and textures bring to life the process of balloon manufacturing. Each illustration has a beautiful green bird that seems to be observing the different steps of balloon manufacturing, and in many of the illustrations, the bird imagery is echoed subtly, almost as a bonus seek and find.

Gidget's Bookworms - July 2013

I have to say before reading this picture book I never knew or would have thought balloons came from trees. I know I should have but never did, or if I did I forgot. Anyway this is a fun book for kids.What kid doesn’t like balloons right? This cute rhyming book tells the whole process from start to finish of how the balloon is made and lands in your home.

Learning Table Reviews - July 2013

Did you know that balloons grow on trees?  In Balloon Trees, we learn the process of tapping latex from trees and all the steps involved in turning it into balloons.  The simple rhyming text, appropriate for young children, describes how workers collect latex from rubber trees, what they do with the collected liquid, and how it is turned into products in the factory.  A balloon is an item that kids are very familiar with, but they probably never knew that it started from a tree!  This book is a great way to introduce science and industry to a young audience, as well as answering the ever-present questions young kids have about how? and where? and why?

Chat with Vera-September 2013

Who doesn't love a balloon? From the time a child is coordinated enough to bat a small balloon to their oldest 100th birthday (that is still being a child, right?), balloons are fun. In "Balloon Trees" the story of how a balloon is made from the tapping of rubber tree sap to the finished product all blow up and bringing delight to everyone. The rhyming verse is lively and fun to read and almost lyrical.
The colorful pictures lend delightful educational qualities to the text about the making of rubber. I found following the little green bird through the book fun, too. An information, fun read for small and elementary children alike, this little book will get a lot of use in a school or public library as well as the home library.