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)