BRAVE HARRIET

THE FIRST WOMAN TO FLY THE ENGLISH CHANNEL

As they did in True Heart (1999), Moss and Payne have produced a vivid story, with equally vibrant illustrations, inspired by a historical event. Harriet Quimby was the first woman to fly alone across the English Channel, a feat that went all but unnoticed because it took place on April 16, 1912—the day the Titanic sank. Quimby was already a newspaper reporter, and she became the first American woman to receive a pilot’s license. Told in the first person, much of the description of her brief, cold, and daring flight across the Channel is taken from her own account of it for the New York Herald. Moss weaves a rich tapestry of description for Quimby’s story, full of heightened but crystalline language describing the desire to fly, and the fulfillment of that desire. Payne’s illustrations have wonderful heft and texture and just the right period feel. Details of the “aeroplane” and of the characters’ gesture and dress are done with wit and grace. Aviator Gustav Hamel’s lame-brained plot to impersonate Harriet is straightfowardly presented in the text but with no attempt to hide its foolish sexism. (author’s note) (Picture book/biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-15-202380-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Silver Whistle/Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2001

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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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ISAAC THE ICE CREAM TRUCK

Newcomer Santoro’s story of the ice cream truck that pined for a more important role in life suffers from a premise that’s well-worn and still fraying—the person or object that longs to be something “more” in life, only to find out that his or its lot in life is enough, after all. Isaac the ice cream truck envies all the bigger, larger, more important vehicles he encounters (the big wheels are depicted as a rude lot, sullen, surly, and snarling, hardly a group to excite much envy) in a day, most of all the fire trucks and their worthy occupants. When Isaac gets that predictable boost to his self-image—he serves up ice cream to over-heated firefighters after a big blaze—it comes as an unmistakable putdown to the picture-book audience: the children who cherished Isaac—“They would gather around him, laughing and happy”—weren’t reason enough for him to be contented. Santoro equips the tale with a tune of Isaac’s very own, and retro scenes in tropical-hued colored pencil that deftly convey the speed of the trucks with skating, skewed angles. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8050-5296-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1999

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