The Twenty-One Balloons

by William Pène du Bois
180 pages, General Fiction
Reviewed by Reviewer91

A very interesting story, based on a real event.


When Professor William Waterman Sherman is found floating in the Atlantic Ocean, half-starved, exhausted, and clinging to the wreckage of twenty punctured balloons, he catches the imagination of the entire world. In this book, he tells the story of how he landed on the island of Krakatoa. The inhabitants of Krakatoa are determined to keep their island a secret, saying he must remain there forever.


Professor Sherman lies to a man on Krakatoa about being a professor at a non-existent school.

Spiritual Content




Drug and Alcohol Content

When Professor Sherman is first rescued, and refuses to tell his story anywhere but the Western American Explorer's Club, the crew of the ship who rescued him try to 'entice him with spirits' and 'gave him medicine which made him dopey'.

Sexual Content


Crude or Profane Language or Content

One of the characters says 'Good Lord'.


This a great fiction story for kids, based on a real event (the eruption of Krakatoa). I enjoyed this book very much.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 4.5
Written for Age: 8-10

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