That is a good book which is opened with expectation and closed with profit.
-- Amos Bronson Alcott (1799 - 1888), Table Talk

Elementary readersUpper elementary readersMiddle school readers
6 stars

The Twenty-One Balloons

AR: 6.8
Lexile: 1070
RC: 5.7
Written and illustrated by
Willliam Pene Dubois
Normal-length Picture Book
Genre: Fantasy Fiction

Original post — Wednesday, June 28, 2006
<img src='../images/books/newberryaward1.gif' alt='Winner of the Newberry Medal' title='Winner of the Newberry Medal'>

Professor Sherman is found in the Atlantic Ocean clinging to the wreckage of a platform attached to twenty-one balloons. He returns to San Francisco and tells a breathless audience of his fantastic adventures on the island of Krakatoa. It seems that Professor Sherman accidentally crash-landed on this infamous volcanic island and for a few short weeks became a "permanent guest". The people of Krakatoa are actually former San Franciscans who traveled there after learning that, aside from the enormous active volcano, the island is a type of paradise full of huge diamond mines. This book is Professor Sherman's story of his brief stay in this dangerous but wonderful place.

This is an interesting book with some events that, if you could actually witness them, would be really cool! Unfortunately, the action is a little hard to get into because the language is so "old-fashioned". The author wrote the story in the 1940s, however he had the narrator, Professor Sherman, use the speaking style of the 1800s! To me, the language is a little too "grown-up" and formal for such a fantastic (as in, relating to fantasy) story. I wanted to like this book more than I did. I would suggest it for more mature readers who are not bothered by old-fashioned language and writing.

(Last modified:09/01/2007)


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