This book was one of the most influential ones in my childhood. The practical approach by the people on the island, exemplified in the "watchglass-clay-seawater" approach to making fire, the descriptions, the no-nonsense way situations are dealt with - they all contributed to my desire to become an engineer later in my life. The fact that it is a sequel to "20,000 Leagues under the Sea" is a bonus.
This is a book I urge *everyone* to read. To this day, I always carry a copy of it on my PDA, and give a copy to anyone who shows interest.