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The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du…

The Twenty-One Balloons (original 1947; edition 1986)

by William Pene du Bois

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2,393422,605 (4.05)61
Title:The Twenty-One Balloons
Authors:William Pene du Bois
Info:Puffin (1986), Paperback, 192 pages
Collections:children's books, Your library
Tags:children's, fiction, Newbery, hot-air balloons, treasure, diamonds, San Fransisco, islands, balloons, unread

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The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pène du Bois (1947)


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@twenty_one +school ( )
  Lorem | Sep 28, 2015 |
At the end of a forty year career teaching math at a San Francisco boys' school, professor William Waterman Sherman looks forward to a year of solitude traveling the world in a hot air balloon that he's built for the purpose. He sets out over the Pacific Ocean on August 15, 1883, only to be found weeks later barely alive and floating in the Atlantic Ocean. How did he get there? Professor Sherman will tell his story...but only after San Francisco's Western American Explorers' Club members have heard it. The nation waits with great anticipation as the professor convalesces and then makes his way across the continent to San Francisco, where he is greeted by a great crowd. He has an amazing story to tell the Explorers' Club of an unusual society on an island believed to have been uninhabited. Professor Sherman arrived there just in time to experience one of the world's greatest disasters.

This imaginative story of a Victorian society living on top of a volcano was a delightful diversion at a time when I lacked the concentration for anything but lighthearted and/or comfort reads. I loved the creative details and the author's illustrations, but the delivery lacks sparkle. Most of the book is supposed to be a speech delivered in the style of a Victorian orator. I'm not sure how many of today's young people in the book's target age group would have enough patience with the style to finish the book, but it's one that I could see my brother and his friends enjoying in their upper elementary and middle school years. (My brother and his best friends all went on to earn engineering degrees.) Potential readers should be aware that the book includes a few racial terms and stereotypes that are often found in older works but are generally considered offensive by today's standards. ( )
1 vote cbl_tn | May 16, 2015 |
Just re-read this for http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/977184-discussion-of-august-s-gtr---newbery-.... Still loving it after all these years. Love the science & engineering, love the 'utopia' and social engineering. Love the illustrations. And love the idea of following one's dreams.

This time I noticed that it's a book for kids about adults. The main character doesn't even particularly like children. I also noticed that it's an homage to, not only [b:Around the World in Eighty Days|54479|Around the World in Eighty Days |Jules Verne|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1308815551s/54479.jpg|4537271] but also any of that early SF that had the framing story. I think particularly of Professor Challenger & his explorer's club in another novella I loved as a child, [b:The Lost World|10155|The Lost World|Arthur Conan Doyle|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1320504012s/10155.jpg|1098725]. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
Got from Audible. a little absurd, glad I finally got around to reading it. ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
Five stars as a childhood memory, three stars as an adult read. As a child, this was one of my favorite books, because of the fantastical story and because of the memorable illustrations. I re-read it many times, and remembered it very fondly. This year, during a difficult period, I decided on an another re-read, hoping to slide back into a dearly remembered fictional world. But what charmed me so as a child was less engrossing as an adult. In part, the frequent technological digressions seemed dull. In part, a bit of political correctness may have been in play (all those Europeans!). In part, the fact that only the central character was in any sense a personality -- or perhaps more accurately a Victorian stereotype -- was a negative. So, I discover that what entranced me 60 years ago doesn't really entrance me now! Wow!! I shall still try it on my 11-year old niece: at present, her opinon of it is a lot more relevant than mine. ( )
  annbury | Nov 20, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
William Pène du Boisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
McDonough, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The ISBN 0140303588 belongs to Ruth Sawyer's Roller Skates, not The Twenty-One Balloons.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140320970, Paperback)

Professor William Waterman Sherman intends to fly across the Pacific Ocean. But through a twist of fate, he lands on Krakatoa, and discovers a world of unimaginable wealth, eccentric inhabitants, and incredible balloon inventions. Winner of the 1948 Newbery Medal, this classic fantasy-adventure is now available in a handsome new edition. "William Pne du Bois combines his rich imagination, scientific tastes, and brilliant artistry to tell a story that has no age limit." -- The Horn Book

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:02 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Relates the incredible adventures of Professor William Waterman Sherman who in 1883 sets off in a balloon across the Pacific, survives the volcanic eruption of Krakatoa, and is eventually picked up in the Atlantic.

(summary from another edition)

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