This Penguin/Puffin Classics translation of Verne's wonderful book is absolutely terrific. It is accurate and fun to read. But be aware that any (other) version of this great novel mentioning Professor "Hardwigg" in the opening segment is a literary fraud, a complete re-write, and not a translation of Verne at all. In that version, a would-be Verne-improver changed characters' names and many plot details.The shame is, that old bogus version is still not recognized as such and is still being sold as if it were truly Verne. Sadly, that is the one many of us grew up reading.
Any true translation (such as in this Puffin Classic) identifies the professor as "Lidenbrock" or "Liedenbrock" NOT as "Hardwigg," (and that is how you can easily distinguish the real vs. the sham). There are old translations that get it right, but in modern times two translations stand out: one by Robert Baldick (this one) and one by William Butcher. They are both good, the difference mainly being a matter of style. Some prefer Butcher; I happen to prefer Baldick.
Don't let the fact that Baldick's translation here appears in a children's imprint deter you from considering it; this is not a simplified "kiddy" version. It appeared first in 1965 as an adult Penguin book, and twenty years later (unchanged) as a Puffin book, and now as an ebook. Butcher's is more recent and, as he is a noted Verne scholar, his credentials certainly carry weight. But that doesn't make him a better wordsmith. We read Verne primarily for fun and for the thrill of adventure. Baldick's translation enables us to do just that.
Another reviewer was very critical of Baldick's use of "behindhand" to mean late or tardy, and on that basis, unfairly gave the entire book a very low rating. "Behindhand" is a perfectly valid word which I verified in 5 different American dictionaries as NOT being a Britishism; it is NOT identified as obscure, archaic or obsolete, and it is totally appropriate in this context. Decide for yourself. Here is the sentence as it ACTUALLY appears (NOT as cited in that critical review): "Martha must have thought she was very behindhand, for the dinner was only just beginning to sizzle on the kitchen stove." That's very simple and understandable to me even though I don't ordinarily use the word "behindhand." (One mustn't be afraid of occasionally encountering and learning a new word while reading.)
I highly recommend Baldick's translation in this Puffin edition to anyone, child or adult. By all means sample it to see for yourself, especially since the low price (as I write this, a mere $.99) is remarkably enticing for a copyrighted, modern translaton rather than an old, public domain one. But whichever edition of this wonderful novel you may be considering for purchase, and no matter who translates it, give it the Lidenbrock (READ it) vs. Hardwigg (AVOID it) test to be certain you are reading the actual story Verne intended.
UPDATE: The price has risen since the above was written. Although it is not the great bargain it once was, the translation remains superb. Nevertheless, you may wish to shop around; lower-priced editions won't be translated by Baldick, but sample them to see how readable any one of them is to you. Happy hunting.