FEATHERS, FLAPS, AND FLOPS

FABULOUS EARLY FLIERS

In this terrific salute to those who fulfilled that eternal human urge to take to the skies, Zaunders skips the Wright Brothers and Earhart in favor of some lesser-known pioneers of the air. There’s the Montgolfier brothers, who invented the hot-air balloon in the 18th century and flew in it for Louis XVI; Alberto Santos-Dumont, whose European aircraft was called the Infuriated Grasshopper in 1906; and Beryl Markham, who flew “west with the night” from Abingdon, England, to Newfoundland. Readers learn from the introduction that John Damian, an Italian in 16th-century Scotland, tried to fly with wings made of chicken feathers, and that Cal Rogers, who flew across the US first, named his plane the Vin Fiz after the grape drink of the company that sponsored him. The prose is as lively and spirited as the characters—what child won’t be enchanted by the story of Wrong-Way Corrigan?—and Munro’s energetic and spiffily detailed images are just right. (Collective biography. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-525-46466-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2001

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The whimsy is slight—the story is not—and both its interest and its vocabulary are for the youngest members of this age...

THE MOUSE AND THE MOTORCYCLE

Beverly Cleary has written all kinds of books (the most successful ones about the irrepressible Henry Huggins) but this is her first fantasy.

Actually it's plain clothes fantasy grounded in the everyday—except for the original conceit of a mouse who can talk and ride a motorcycle. A toy motorcycle, which belongs to Keith, a youngster, who comes to the hotel where Ralph lives with his family; Ralph and Keith become friends, Keith gives him a peanut butter sandwich, but finally Ralph loses the motorcycle—it goes out with the dirty linen. Both feel dreadfully; it was their favorite toy; but after Keith gets sick, and Ralph manages to find an aspirin for him in a nearby room, and the motorcycle is returned, it is left with Ralph....

The whimsy is slight—the story is not—and both its interest and its vocabulary are for the youngest members of this age group. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 1965

ISBN: 0380709244

Page Count: 180

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1965

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FIVE TRUCKS

Floca (The Frightful Story of Harry Walfish, 1997, etc.) offers a great explication of the small trucks that airline passengers see scurrying around jets on the runways. In brightly painted illustrations and simple descriptions, he introduces each vehicle, explains what it does, and shows it in action, e.g., the truck called the baggage conveyor is shown hoisting suitcases into the belly of the plane. All five trucks’ duties point to a big finale when the plane takes off. Given preschoolers’ well-documented fascination with heavy machinery, this book will strike a chord with young air travelers, and answer the questions of older travelers as well. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7894-2561-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1999

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