Sunday, November 05, 2017
"Jake And The Hot-Air Balloon"
Paradise resident Maurice "Big Mo" Huffman is known in the music scene for his melding of blues, Southern rock and funk with his award-winning Big Mo And The Full Moon Band (bigmoblues.com). After he and his wife Robin moved to California in 1989 he began telling their son Miles a bedtime story featuring a ten-year-old orphan named Jake Foster and a talking mouse named Milton.
"Jake And The Hot-Air Balloon" ($11.95 in paperback from Page Publishing; also for Amazon Kindle) is the first in a planned series featuring the intrepid adventurers.
Jake's parents had drowned in a Caribbean storm. His only relative, aunt Hilde, died when he was five, and Jake wound up in a Colorado orphanage.
He "was a tough boy and knew that this was what life had dealt him, but even the toughest boy can face moments that are too hard and where he needs somebody. Jake was alone though, left with his dream of being high up in a hot-air balloon."
Word comes of a nearby hot-air balloon race, and Jake desperately wants to go, but an older bully and his minion at the orphanage get Jake into trouble. He's forced to make the biggest decision of his young life, disobeying those in charge and sneaking off to the races and right into the area where the balloons are set to lift off.
You just know something will happen and, sure enough, Jake finds himself aloft in one of the balloons where he meets Milton the talking mouse, a resident of the balloon basket. It's Milton's job to keep Jake safe, and, it turns out, that's a tall order.
Along the way, sailing over the world, the balloon is shot down by a group of very odd and friendly people on a floating mountain whose job it is to shoot holes in Swiss cheese but who aren't very accurate. Their balloon eventually repaired, Jake and Milton travel to the Caribbean, rescue a girl named Lilly, search for her scientist parents, and fight off a some bad guys.
The action-packed story ends with a few threads hanging, a big yellow bird, and a hint of the adventures to come.