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A great representative of children's literature (and of literature for those who are not exactly children), The Twenty-One Balloons focuses on the strange and marvelous discovery of Professor William Waterman Sherman after he makes the ultimate choice: to leave behind four decades of work as a Math teacher, and embark in an extraordinary trip around the world for one year in a hot air balloon.
In the story, Prof. Waterman Sherman lands in the volcanic island of Krakatoa. The island is threatened with the imminent explosion of the volcano. However, there are a lot of interesting things happening there that completely catch the attention of the reader. For instance, the inhabitants live in a socially equal environment where they make the best out of the plentiful resources that they have. They are also quite intelligent and colorful. Yet, it is from the myriad of projects that the inhabitants have created, using balloons, that the story gets its title.
Although the current title of The Twenty One Balloons reflects one or more important aspects of the story, to be exact, some of the creations made by the inhabitants for their House of Marvels museum, other important parts of it could also be mentioned in an alternative title.
For instance, the fact that Professor Waterman Sherman makes a choice that basically nobody would ever dare to make, is a worthy cause to mention. A title such as Professor Sherman's Incredible Journey would directly reflect the courageous decision that the professor made. Another worthy focal point in the story is the fact that there is a need to escape the island before the volcano erupts. In this case, a good title would be Escape from the Krakatoa.
The choices are limitless, but it is important to select one specific part of the story in order to make the title make sense. Of course, in literature there are several instances of novels and stories whose titles have nothing to do with the plot. However, in children's literature the title should always anticipate something interesting about the story precisely because the title is more than likely what will get the attention of the potential young reader.
Additional titles could include Professor Sherman's Adventure, or, To the Hot Krakatoa in a Hot Air Balloon. Again, the best bet for a good title is to pick out some salient feature from the story and make a good and colorful play on words with it.
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