Sally’s Rating: 3/5
The Twenty-One Balloons is a quirky tale of an old professor who decides to explore the world in a hot air balloon. Trouble finds him as he ends up crash landing on an island inhabited by an eccentric group of natives, and he discovers a secret treasure, uncovers a new kind of government, and almost figuratively jumps into the frying pan.
The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois was a fun story filled with some out-of-this-world ideas. The story begins with a framing device as the majority of the story is told in flashback by Professor Sherman. It starts with the professor being found with in the Atlantic Ocean with twenty deflated balloons, and everyone is anxiously waiting to hear about his adventures. As he begins to tell his tale, the reader is introduced to a unique world filled with outrageous inventions and odd societal conventions.
Once he lands on the Island of Krakatoa, the book takes on a light and humorous tone. As he learns about the citizens of Krakatoa, he discovers their wealth of diamonds, a government based on restaurants and their iconic naming conventions. While much of this book is like catnip to the imaginative mind, a bit of action and adventure is introduced once the volcanic island erupts. There is enough humor and action for readers of all types.
Reminiscent of Pixar’s Up and L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, this story is a fun tale about a normal person who gets immersed into an unknown world with different customs. Young readers would probably enjoy The Twenty-One Balloons with its exciting protagonist and wildly imaginative world.