For those of you who don’t know, there exists a classic of juvenile fiction of that name, written and illustrated by William Pene DuBois. In a nutshell it concerns a weary
arithmetic teacher who decides to build a gigantic balloon
and sail around the world in it, but on his 7th day out a seagull rips his balloon and his journey ends. And wouldn’t you know it, he lands on Krakatoa, just 4 days shy of the 1883 volcanic explosion. It’s really a delightful read, and one of very few juvenile books I’ve kept from my boyhood.
He describes Krakatoa as being populated by 20 families who live in fabulous houses funded by the immense wealth in diamonds to be found on the island. These people use a special calendar of 20-day months, and each family is assigned a particular day of the month on which they have to provide meals for all the others; theoretically each family only has to work on its assigned day.
So the blurb on the back of the book says that the whole thing about the balloons and the arithmetic teacher is just nonsense, but some of stuff regarding the fabulous civilization on Krakatoa is based on fact. Which stuff? What facts? It’s hard to believe that any of this could be remotely true (except the explosion).
Does anyone know anything about this?