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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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2,318402,725 (4.06)52
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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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 |
Re-read. I liked it as well the second time as I did the first, many years ago. It's light, frothy and fun, with lots of technical ballooning and geographical pieces stirred in. Some of these are obviously lectures, some are seamless parts of the narrative. I didn't warm to the people. And I wonder, idly, what else was in the running for the Newbery that year.

ETA: I looked, and [b:Miss Hickory|1041101|Miss Hickory|Carolyn Sherwin Bailey|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1349037790s/1041101.jpg|2363956] is the only one of the Honor book from '47 I have read.

ETA: Wendy commented that Miss Hickory won in 47, and this won in 48. So I looked again, and this book won over [b:Misty of Chincoteague|17461|Misty of Chincoteague (Misty, #1)|Marguerite Henry|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1348751818s/17461.jpg|847402] which just goes to show that I know nothing about how books are picked for the Newbery. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
I would have given this book another star if it hadn't been for the couple of instances where the author's racism comes through. (I realize that the book is written in 1947 and set in the late 1880s. But still...) Other than those, it's an entertaining read and a really interesting take on what a society would look like if everyone worked together to take care of each other's needs rather than slaving away at a job to eke out an existence. ( )
  VikkiLaw | Apr 4, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (3 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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:42:24 -0400)

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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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