A blimp, a huge helium-filled balloon-like airship, begins as an immense polyester bag. As it is filled with helium, it begins to rise, eventually floating 1000 to 3000 feet above the ground. But a lot happens between the time a blimp is first inflated and when it begins its first flight. Munro, the author/illustrator of The Inside-Outside Book of New York City and other titles , has filled this book with facts and information. She explains, in a readable style, how blimps are made (including the installation of the gondola, where passengers and crew travel), manned, maneuvered and moored, and addresses such questions as why blimps are so big and what it is like to ride in one. But it is the ink and watercolor illustrations that best capture the serenity and weightlessness of these dirigibles; Munro's portraits of these beauties in flight will astonish and awe readers. Ages 7-12. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
Gr 1-5 An accurate description of blimps, their history, manufacture, and historical as well as current use. Munro also delineates the launching and piloting of the large airship. Her watercolor illustrations are attractive in their simplicity, although there are no diagrams to aid understanding. The text, however, is concise and easy to understand. Children who are used to the Gail Gibbons style of detailed, labeled drawings will miss the information that she conveys in her illustrations, as Munro's full-color illustrations are mostly background for the informative, well-written text. Reading this book may spark an interest in rigid airships, and children may want to examine Joshua Stoff's Dirigible (Atheneum, 1985). Blimps are mentioned only briefly in his book, but using the two books together would make a great lesson in comparison. Barbara S. McGinn, Oak Hill Elementary School, Severna Park, Md .