Original cover and illustrations: Robert Henneberger
Awards / Recognition: Nene Award, 1959 (Hawaii Library Association and Hawaii Association of School Librarians)
From the flap:
"WANTED: A small space ship about eight feet long, built by a boy, or two boys, between the ages of eight and eleven. The ship should be sturdy and well made, and should be of materials found at hand. Nothing need be bought. No adult should be consulted as to its plan or method of construction. An adventure and a chance to do a good deed await the boys who build the best space ship. Please bring your ship as soon as possible to Mr. Tyco M. Bass, 5 Thallo Street, Pacific Grove, California.
If you were David Topman always dreaming of cruising about the solar system in your own space ship, whay would you do when you read an advertisement like that? You'd get to work right away on plans and then you'd enlist your friend Chuck Masterson to help build, and the space ship would be ready in exactly three days.
Which it was, except for the finish and fuel to be supplied by Mr. Bass - Tyco Bass, that is, the mystery man who was inventor, astronomer, artist rolled into one - Mr. Tyco Bass, the mushroom grower who was badly in need of a space ship and two boys for The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet.
A story of fact and fiction."
Japanese language edition, Kodansha (arranged through Charles E. Tuttle Co.), 1957
Robert Henneberger was the illustrator for The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet. Though he only provided the pictures for one additional book in the series (Stowaway to the Mushroom Planet), Eleanor Cameron regarded him as the definitive artist for the series. She especially delighted in his his heavy-lined ink depictions of the Basidiumites and of Mr. Bass. She said on more than one occasion that she wished Henneberger had done all five books in the series.
The editions of Wonderful Flight and Stowaway released since 1988 have been stripped of Henneberger's illustrations, much to Cameron's dismay.
There is a dearth of biographical information on Henneberger, but he was very prolific for a short time, with 33 books to his credit between 1951 and 1959, seven of them in 1955 alone. Besides Wonderful Flight and Stowaway, perhaps his most notable accomplishments are the first two books by sports novel powerhouse Matt Christopher (1954's The Longest Baseball Bat and 1956's Baseball Pals). He also did six books with Kentucky author Jesse Stuart and seven with sports writers C.P and O.B. Jackson. He stopped illustrating after 1967.
Click here to read the convoluted history of attempts to bring The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet to stage and screen.