I went up in a hot air balloon once during a trip in Canada, with my sister, uncle and his brother (plus a nice group of strangers), and it was the best. We landed diagonally about some bushes. I'd love to do it again. Also, where I spent ages 4-13 (Tracy, CA), every 4th of July at 6am we went out to the park by the library for the hot air balloon launch (about ten balloons) and Lion's Club pancake breakfast. Probably my favorite holiday tradition.
Did anyone else read The Twenty-One Balloons when you were young? I remember it being a fun book that I really liked. Now I'm wondering if it's still on a bookshelf at home because I want to read it again.
"William Waterman Sherman, the protagonist of the Newbery Medal book The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pène du Bois, has been teaching arithmetic to boys for forty years in San Francisco: “Forty years of spitballs. Forty years of glue on my seat.” So at the age of sixty-six, he retires, builds a hot-air balloon, and sets off to sail around the world. But as he soon discovers, being airborne produces other problems besides spitballs. Seagulls start to eat on his balloon and create a huge hole. After he plummets into the sea, he finds shelter on an island beach. This is not just any island, but the remarkable island of Krakatoa, built on the wealth of massive diamond mines. The island seems like paradise: the residences have constructed amazing homes, each one organized around the architecture of a different county, and filled them with conveniences. Their beds, for instance, have sheets that mechanically change every day and get washed, dried, and pressed. After a life of service, the professor might well have lived a life of luxury. But as is always true, timing is everything—because he has landed three days before a volcano erupts on the island of Krakatoa. Science, invention, fantasy, science fiction, and action all come together in a book that moves from one amazing plot detail to another."- Summary from childrensbookalmanac.com