I think this should be a novel study in middle school. It's such a great book for growing kids because Jules Verne manages to weave many forms of science into the plotline to demonstrate how amazing and useful our knowledge of the universe is.
A group of 5 gets stranded on a desert island with no resources but their own wits. One of their group is an engineer with practical knowledge of all of the sciences. I love how they build themselves up from nothing to a "civilized" existence. We take for granted that just about everything around us comes from our knowledge of science. Jules Verne weaves this in when the engineer calculates their unknown position on the planet by measuring the Southern Cross star location without even having an instrumentation other than sticks, and correcting for the height of the hill he was measuring from using trigonometry. Or to create nitroglyercin to drain a lake to create their home. Or to create mud bricks from raw ingredients which they could then make a furnace out of to make iron in order to make tools in order to etc. etc. You can see how their colony builds up.
On top of that, it's just a great adventure story, desert island story, and there are some mysterious happenings around the island that don't get revealed to the end. AND Verne ties up storylines from two of his earlier books; I won't say which ones so I don't ruin it for you.
How can it get any better than that?
The reader who recorded this in audiobook form on librivox.org is professional and enjoyable....Continua