A - BCCB (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books)
In an adventure novel set in an alternate early twentieth-century world reminiscent of those created by Jules Verne and Edgar Rice Burroughs, cabin-boy Matt Cruse earns a living on the zeppelin Aurora, a world-class luxury liner.... Through pirate attacks, shipwreck on an uncharted island, and imprisonment, Matt and Kate collaborate in an often uneasy partnership to find proof of the cloud cats' existence. From start to finish, the pacing is brisk, the physical details are specific and persuasive, the characterization is consistent yet dynamic, and the interweaving of the plot threads is meticulous but discreet, The tension created by danger at diverse levels gradually increases reader interest already piqued by the possible discovery of an awe-inspiring new species. The deaths of certain zeppelin crew members heighten that interest, as does the romantic tension between working-class Matt and upper-class Kate. On a deeper plane, Matt's narrative explores the uncertainties and obstacles inherent in the struggle to know one's place in the world. A thoroughly satisfying tale, this novel takes a standard premise from the early days of novelistic adventuring and reinvents it as a new literary achievement.
- BCCB (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books)