Around the world in a balloon

People seem to find it mildly interesting that a balloonist has managed a solo flight around the world. Perhaps the fact that this is the balloonist’s sixth attempt makes it a bit less impressive.

The recent news about ballooning reminds me of a wonderful book called The Twenty-One Balloons. I first read this whimsical and inspiring tale as a child and it is still one of my all time favorites. The book, written and illustrated by William Pene du Bois, won the 1948 Newbery Medal. The story recounts an imaginative balloon adventure and describes many fanciful inventions which are beautifully illustrated in almost blueprint detail. The illustrations emphasize and expand the story, immersing you more deeply in it. When I think of a creative effort reaching perfection, I think of this book.