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.-Goodreads Blurb
I first read this book when I was just 10, I was drawn in by the idea of travelling around the world in a hot air balloon, not personally (fear of heights) but in a literary mode it seemed exciting and new to me. I hadn’t yet gotten my hands on Jules Verne or HG Wells, both of whom’s styles you can see in this book. For a children’s book, it stands up quite well 70+ years later. The little ideas and illustrations scattered through the book by author really adds to the story instead of being distracting or leading the mind in one direction. I remember wondering what inventions I would invent if I was on the island, would I want elevator beds, or furniture that sunk into the floor to clean easily?
Every year for Christmas, my Niece and Nephews know that they are going to get at least two new books from Aunt Michelle. This year this will definitely be in the stack. The light and whimsical storytelling manages to create a safe space even with the pending volcanic eruption. This will be a great starter book before sending heavy books such as Journey to the Center of the Earth, or one of Verne's other whimsical sci-fi books. If I can get away with I may try to slip some Terry Pratchett in at some point as well.
Another reason I think this will be a hit, even this long after publication, even with the smallest of imaginations, one can’t help but imagine what a restaurant based government would be like. There is a level of whimsy and humor that i didn’t expect to have lasted this long. Even having read it 15 years ago I still found myself laughing and having a difficult time not finishing it in a four hour stint. So Ben and Hannah, if you’re reading this, guess what you’re getting for Christmas?
Freelance Editor & Reviewer