Airborn by Kenneth Oppel

AirbornThis is a wonderful story.  It seems to take place in the late 1800’s but it is a different world.  In this world, huge, luxury airships ply the skies buoyed by a  gas called hydrium.  Matt Cruse is a cabin boy on the Aurora.  He loves his airship and hopes to captain her himself one day.  He is keeping watch one night  when he sights a hot air balloon losing altitude.  He is instrumental in rescuing the balloon and its occupant, a very sick man.    While sitting beside the man in the infirmary, Matt tries to calm him by agreeing with him that he has also seen the beautiful winged creatures the man is talking about.  The man dies but the next year a young lady passenger arrives on the Aurora in possession of the balloonist’s diary.  The man was her grandfather and she has come on this trip in order to prove that he was not hallucinating ; that these creatures that he wrote about really exist.  She enlists Matt’s help and then the unthinkable happens, the ship is attacked by air pirates and must make an emergency landing far from their route on an uncharted island.  The island looks exactly like the drawing of the island in Kate’s grandfather’s journal.  Their adventures are just beginning and the pirates do reappear.  Kate and Matt turn out to be clever, brave, and intrepid.  They do encounter one of the creatures which Kate thinks of as sweet but which turns out to be a very dangerous carnivore.

I actually listened to this book.  The book on CD is published by Full Cast Audio and it is a very good listen.  The characters are well done and the music adds a lot to the feeling of being airborn.  If 355 pages is a daunting number but the books sound good, try listening to it.  You’ll love it!  This is a great read or listen for boys or girls grades 6-8 if they like adventure, smart kids and animal  or pirate stories.

Posted by: Fran W.

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