What is the author's message in "The Twenty-one Balloons"?

Expert Answers
Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Pene du Bois published this book in 1947, so long ago that we might have a difficult time understanding the context in which he wrote. One idea that comes to mind is that he was poking fun at Utopian societies in the book, and perhaps making the point that no matter how perfectly we set up societies, nature has a way of making things imperfect. You might also notice that the book was published almost immediately after World War II, so it is equally possible that he longed for a peaceful island on which people could create an ideal and happy society. In either case, a similar eruption really did happen on the island of Krakatoa, and whether the volcano stands as a symbol of the damage to civilization in World War II, or a symbol of nature's way of gumming up the plans of people, is something we may never know.  It is equally possible, given that the author wrote many children's books, that he simply wanted to write a great adventure story, which he most certainly did!