My first idea for cover art for my poetry collection was a hot-air balloon. I liked the idea of traveling through space-time without much direction. It seemed a good metaphor for my life, at least from my perspective, which gives great weight to serendipity. Family and friends probably think I have charted a more deliberate course.
So it seemed fitting when I was asked to help Gisela with her reading assignment, The Twenty-One Balloons, by William Pene du Bois. The protagonist takes off with a giant hot air balloon after 40 years of teaching arithmetic to boys. He is certainly looking for a leisurely escape from routine and time to read on the porch of the little cabin suspended from the balloon.
I have read about half the book at a quick pace. I find the style both disconcerting and charming. It combines fiction with fact, which is not unusual. The central event is the eruption of the volcano Krakatoa in 1883, with a great loss of life and property. I haven't reached that part; let's see how a book for 5th - 6th graders handles a cataclysmic event.