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Hot-Air Henry: 01/14/22
Hot-Air Henry by Mary Calhoun and Erick Ingraham (Illustrations) is the second of the Henry the Siamese cat picture books. While this book was published when I was a child, I only discovered the series as an adult.
The gist of these books are that Henry is taken along when his human family are on their latest adventure. In this case, the Man is in the countryside to do his first solo flight of a hot air balloon.
Henry wants to participate and gets into the basket. He's shooed off the balloon but through a series of misadventures ends up back on and the balloon ends up taking off without the Man.
As with the other books in the series I've read, the majority of the pages are focused on Henry's solo adventure. First he's scared and then he figures out what's going on. Through experimentation he learns how to rescue himself.
In counterpoint Henry's family does what they can to track the balloon. They are there to meet the cat but otherwise don't do anything to rescue him.
This particular book has a dramatic climax where Henry has to keep the balloon afloat but has an angry goose making things worse.
Erick Ingraham's illustrations are wonderful. They're the right balance of realistic and humorous.
The third book is High-Wire Henry (1991)