Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene Dubois

I recommend this book for: grades 4-6

Professor Sherman is ready to retire, and since he likes nothing better than hot air ballooning, he decides to retire in his balloon. Equipped with supplies for a year, he sets off over the Pacific with the intention of leisurely circumnavigating the globe. What he actually does is get rescued a mere 3 weeks later in the Atlantic Ocean, amidst the wreckage of not 1, but 20 hot air balloons. And despite the burning curiosity of everyone from the boat captain who rescues him to the President of the United States, Professor Sherman absolutely refuses to tell his story until he gets back to San Francisco, to the Explorer's Club of which he is an honorary member. As such, I wouldn't feel right revealing the details here ;-), but I can tell you that it involves the island of Krakatoa, a different restaurant for every day of the month, bumper couches, a fortune in diamonds, and a very, very big volcanic eruption. A charming and fun adventure that far exceeded my expectations, because I find that many of the older Newbery winners are a bit dull - this one was great!

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