Jerdine Nolen
Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm
Marc Buehner, illustrator
HarperCollins, 1994
book covers
books in alphabetical order
  Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm


Harvey Potter was a very strange fellow indeed. He was a farmer, but he didn't farm like my daddy did. He farmed a genuine, U.S. Government Inspected Balloon Farm.

So begins this enchanting original tall tale. Set in the rural south and populated with a truly unforgettable cast of characters—including, if you look very carefully, a rabbit, a Tyrannosaurus rex, a cat, a chicken, a cow, and a pig hidden in each remarkable illustration — this is a book that is filled with wonderful impossibilities and magical imagination. Told in the great tradition of summer nights and front porch yarns, Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm will lift your spirit right off the ground, just as it does Harvey Potter.


“Harvey Potter has a latex thumb: he grows balloons. The girl who assists him is the only one to learn his secret, and it changes her life. [Buehner's] expert use of light and shadow makes a day in the fields look downright glorious.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

“This is the best sort of fantasy-imaginative, inventive, and believable. Harvey Potter is a wonder—he's the owner of a genuine U.S. Government Inspected Balloon farm. And Nolen's tale about this man, narrated by the African-American girl who learns balloon-farming magic from him, is equally wondrous. The author's understated, down-home text combines with Buehner's rich, rounded paintings to create a most satisfying whole. Buehner is a master character painter who gives three-dimensional life to the girl, Harvey, and all the wonderful balloons. This title should sail onto every library shelf. May Nolen grow a bumper crop of books.” (School Library Journal)

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