Children's Literature - Beverly KobrinDon Berliner vivifies the attempts of aviation pioneers and their peers, among them George Cayley, the airplane's originator; Otto Lillienthal, the first aviator; and Gustave Whitehead, who may have flown a controlled, powered, fixed-wing aircraft four years before Orville and Wilbur.
School Library JournalSpace launchings are becoming almost routine, but interest in all forms of flying persists. Here, Berliner fills in the background on the important, lesser-known experimenters who laid that foundation. (Bleriot of The Glorious Flight is not included.) After a brief introduction on early investigators such as the Chinese and Leonardo da Vinci, he begins with Sir George Cayley, who is considered to be the originator of the airplane, and continues with the many others who contributed to the field. Berliner writes clear, declarative sentences filled with the facts needed for reports. Every page has a well-drawn sketch or a clearly reproduced archival photograph, giving a period atmosphere to the book, but making it less attractive than Melvin Zisfein's more inclusive Flight: A Panorama of Aviation (Knopf, 1981) or the Smithsonian Book of Flight for Young People (Macmillan, 1988). An unexciting but handy source of information. --Sylvia S. Marantz, Wellington School, Columbus, OH
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