scrounge: /skrounj/ informal verb: to actively seek [books] from any available source
The Twenty-One Balloons is one of those books that I'm glad to have read, but wish I had read when I was younger -- sometimes the magic and mystery is a bit stronger at younger ages.
I did enjoy this story that features a fair amount of absurdity, but it balanced that out by anchoring itself in an actual historical event -- the violent explosion of the volcano Krakatoa in 1883. After a ballooning accident maroons him on a seemingly deserted island, Professor Sherman is introduced to a secret society built around the volcano -- made possible due to the abundance of diamond mines about the place (also secret).
This brought back memories of Gulliver's Travels though easier to read and not nearly so strange or complicated, and also reminded me a lot of the science fiction and mystery of some Jules Verne stories. In modern times, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the movie Up was inspired by this book.
Author: William Pene du Bois
Content Advisory: There is a violent explosion and a bit of peril, but nothing too scary.