written by Danna Smith; illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein
2013 (Sylvan Dell)
Source: Orange County Public Library
Check out Nonfiction Monday for more nonfiction book reviews.
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. It starts with tappers going out at dawn and tapping rubber trees. They slice the bark, add a spout, and out comes a milky white latex. After going through a machine for cleaning, the latex is shipped via tanker ship to a factory. The latex is dropped into a tank filled with color. Forms in the shapes of balloons are dipped in the color latex mixture quickly to make the color stick. Then these forms are dipped and brushed with water and cooked in an oven. After a dunking in powder, the balloons are filled with air and pop off the forms where they are carried away on a conveyor belt for more washing and testing. Soon after the balloons will be boxed and shipped so you can purchase it from your favorite store.
Balloon Trees would be a good book to share when you work on "how-to" book writing in kindergarten or first grade. This procedural text, with its rhyming steps, will be a popular read because who doesn't like a balloon? It could also be included in a science unit on matter. This book does not include clowns which may be a relief for some of you. As with all Sylvan Dell books, you get a fabulous PDF of teaching activities, so here's the link: http://sylvandellpublishing.com/documents/TeachingActivities/BalloonTrees_TA.pdf