Friday, December 4, 2009
The Twenty-One Balloons
The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois has such a charming premise, I couldn't help but add it to the stack of books I was planning to pack for travel. A good chunk of the book I consumed on the floor at JFK, waiting for my connecting flight. I think it was the perfect selection.
Beginning with these words: "There are two kinds of travel. The usual way is to take the fastest imaginable conveyance along the shortest road. The other way is not to care particularly where you are going or how long it will take you, or whether you will get there or not." The opposite page features a delightful sketch of a hot air balloon. What better way to inspire a traveler?
The story of The Twenty-One Balloons centers on Professor William Waterman Sherman and his loyalty to The Western American Explorer's Club. You see, Professor Sherman has been on a very big adventure. Setting off in a giant balloon with the aim of crossing the Pacific Ocean, Sherman was discovered three weeks later a bit distressed and in the Atlantic. How could this be, the entire country wants to know. Sherman vows that his colleagues of explorers be his first audience and he is raced to the West Coast amid the country's eagerness to hear his tale.
Recommendation: A delightful tale of exploration and adventure.