Raccoon and the Hot Air Balloon by Kristen Humphrey and Jill Atkins

I was delighted to have the chance to review this new picture books from Maverick publishing, and be part of the blog tour. The front cover is eye-catching and the kind of image that will immediately grab children’s attention. I can see this being a popular choice in libraries. There is something exciting about stories that involve flight and the possibilities that this offers for different visual perspectives and adventure.

The Raccoon in this story is an especially loveable character. The illustrator Kritsten Humphrey has done a great job with the Raccoon’s expressions which will help young readers understand what she is feeling at different points in the story. 

At the start of the story the Raccoon rescues a chick from a tree. The Raccoon dreams of being able to fly, this page reminded me so much of Mog the Forgetful cat, where he dreams about flying. 

I love how the image of the hot air balloon is repeated across the page so you get the sense of movement. However, some young children might need it explaining that this is the same hot air balloon and not 4 moving across the page!

Most of the story is about the accidental ride the Raccoon takes in a hot air balloon. Towards the end the Eagle (who’s chick Raccoon rescued) and it’s friends rescue her. It would be a great additional task to try and identify all the birds in this picture.  A story of adventure, kindness and looking out for others. 


The author Jill Atkins has created a strong narrative story. She also cleverly introduces her reader to some great descriptive words and a number of sound words.I have listed the sound words below. Also attached at the bottom of this blog is a downloadable resource sheet with the 5 sound words and 5 matching pictures. 

  • screech 
  • roaring
  • whooshed
  • swoosh
  • chugging 

This story would make a fun and engaging read aloud for 3 to 7 year olds. There are also some great ways you could link it to the  curriculum. 

Click here to download the Sound Words ACTIVITY SHEET

2 comments on “Raccoon and the Hot Air Balloon by Kristen Humphrey and Jill Atkins

  1. Thank you, @ReadingPebbles, for such a full and positive review! I’m sure Raccoon will be delighted!! I’m so happy with the wonderful transformation of my story that @krisillus has made.

  2. Thanks, also to @MaverickBooks for producing such a wonderful book and for arranging this blog tour. jillatkinsauth1

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