Re-read. I liked it as well the second time as I did the first, many years ago. It's light, frothy and fun, with lots of technical ballooning and geographical pieces stirred in. Some of these are obviously lectures, some are seamless parts of the narrative. I didn't warm to the people. And I wonder, idly, what else was in the running for the Newbery that year. ETA: I looked, and Miss Hickory is the only one of the Honor book from '47 I have read. ETA: Wendy commented that Miss Hickory won in 47, and this won in 48. So I looked again, and this book won over Misty of Chincoteague which just goes to show that I know nothing about how books are picked for the Newbery.