{Reading Report} The Twenty-One Balloons

{Pre-written and scheduled post.}

The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene Du Bois

“Half of this story is true and the other half might very well have happened.”

Our story kicks off with the exciting discovery and rescue of a sophisticated professor named William Waterman Sherman, who is stranded in the North Atlantic amid the wreckage of twenty-one sadly deflated balloons. It’s the first sighting of this adventurous professor since is departure from San Francisco three weeks earlier. But that day he’d floated off the pier in one large balloon, not twenty one. How did he come to be helplessly adrift in this odd array of debris? 31GEEINKFuL._BO1,204,203,200_

Sherman’s fans in America are desperate for an explanation, and after some rest and pampering for the retired teacher, they get it. Thus the exciting tale of The Twenty-One Balloons is born, masterfully told from the perspective of this eccentric and imaginative old man.

Apparently Sherman’s change of plans is all thanks to a seagull who punctured his balloon whilst he floated, carefree, above the Pacific. But it was all for the best in the end; Sherman’s necessary crash landing led to the discovery of a secret island called Krakatoa, inhabited only by twenty families…and one incredible treasure store of diamonds. The lifestyle on this almost-magical island takes wealth, invention, and ingenuity to unprecedented (and extremely humorous) heights. Sherman’s riveted audience only encourages his far-fetched descriptions and elaborate tales of what took place on the enchanting island…until the next catastrophe that led to the discovery of Sherman and the balloon wreckage in the first place.

The Twenty-One Balloons is one of my favorite humorous family novels. Bursting with creativity and comical descriptions, it’s the perfect lazy-summer-afternoon read for kids of all ages.

Recommended read-aloud age: all ages
Recommended read-alone age: 8 and up

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