The Twenty-One Balloons

by William Pene du Bois

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1. Use an encyclopedia to research the actual volcanic destruction of Krakatoa and compare your findings with the Professor's account of the disaster.

2. Consider the various balloon inventions cited in the book. Which ones are scientifically plausible, and which ones are absurd? Are any of them worth attempting?

3. The children on Krakatoa have duties to perform as well as responsibilities to assume. Discuss the life style of the children on the island. Does it have advantages over that of the typical American child?

4. A substantial portion of the book is presented as the Professor's lecture to the club. How does the author make this lecture convincing and effective?

5. What do the Krakatoans lack? Is their life as complete as they seem to think it is? Are they better off than most people?

6. How does the Professor's long experience as an arithmetic teacher help him to get along in Krakatoa?

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