The same cat who skied to meet his human family in Cross-Country Cat (1979) is put through a less winning repeat performance in this story about his solo balloon ride. Scooting into the empty basket when its beginning pilot, ""The Man"" of the family, jumps out for his camera, Henry accidentally pulls the cord that fires the burner, and so takes off. His further progress does not rely on accident, though, for Henry now knows how to go up and soon figures out how to pull the air-spilling cord to go down. Humming to ""a tune of the Kid's about 'Sailing, sailing, over the bounding main'""--just as he had skied along to ""This Old Man""--Henry glories in his flight and manipulates the cords to land and then to rise again in pursuit of a flock of blackbirds. Aloft once more, he scares an eagle with a roar from the burner, and at last, after a little run-in with a perching goose, lands for good near the family's truck. Ingraham supplies some spanking realistic visuals with his colorful balloon and his winter landscapes. But where Cross-Country Cat had the take-it-or-leave-it charm and conviction of an odd little wonder tale, this seems clearly contrived and a shade too cute--except, perhaps, for the sizable cat cult.