The Fabulous Flying Machines of Alberto Santos-Dumont

( 3 )

Overview

While the Wright Brothers were gliding over Kitty Hawk, the charming Brazilian Alberto Santos-Dumont was making his own mark on the history of flight.

Alberto loved floating over Paris in his personal flying machine called a dirigible. He would tie it to a post, climb down, and spend the day shopping or meeting friends for coffee. But he wanted to make his invention even better. By 1906, Alberto had transformed his balloon into a box with wings! But now there was competition. ...

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Overview

While the Wright Brothers were gliding over Kitty Hawk, the charming Brazilian Alberto Santos-Dumont was making his own mark on the history of flight.

Alberto loved floating over Paris in his personal flying machine called a dirigible. He would tie it to a post, climb down, and spend the day shopping or meeting friends for coffee. But he wanted to make his invention even better. By 1906, Alberto had transformed his balloon into a box with wings! But now there was competition. Another inventor challenged Alberto to see who would be the first in flight. Alberto’s hard work paid off, and his airplane successfully soared into the air, making him the first pilot to lift off and land a completely self-propelled plane.

The book includes an author’s note about Santos-Dumont, a bibliography, an index, and photographs of his flying machines.

Praise for Fabulous Flying Machines of Alberto Santos-Dumont
“At the turn of the last century, all sorts of ambitious and eccentric men were competing furiously to get the first airplane into the sky. One of the most famous of these was a dashing Brazilian who lived in Paris and, to wide admiration, did his errands by airship. Victoria Griffith tells his story…which is illustrated with panache in rich, smudgy oils and pastels by Italian artist Eva Montanari.” –Wall Street Journal

"An excellent read-aloud, this picture book is a must when studying the history of flight and can be used as a resource for research, a book for all your reading needs!" -Library Media Connection

“Montanari’s chalky illustrations are distinguished by a strong sense of motion, and the story’s suspense (rival pilots! harrowing landings!) and surprise cameos (Louis Cartier!) make this an elegant tribute to a hero of early aviation.” –Publishers Weekly

Strong vertical trim and layout, which one would expect to exploit sweeping skyscapes, are instead cleverly deployed to put viewers among the earthbound spectators, most often glimpsing the aviator in the distance. A bibliography and brief index round out the title, which will be a first choice for aviation enthusiasts.” –The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

"A generous spirit and penchant for grand gestures make him [Santos-Dumont] all the more worth knowing—particularly for American audiences unaware that there is any question about who was the first to fly. –Kirkus Reviews

“Montanari captures the look, dress, and formality of the era in her splendid, impressionistic pastel, chalk, and oil paintings. The endnotes add details and facts about the life of this charismatic, adventurous man and mark his place in aviation history.” –School Library Journal

“Even if you’ve never heard of Santos-Dumont, you’ll be delighted to meet this real-life historical figure in Victoria Griffith’s vivid debut picture book. This fine picture book resurrects his story in lively prose and large-scale illustrations rendered in pastels, chalks, oil pastels and oil paint, perfectly capturing the drama of the events. The fuzzy lines lend a feeling of history to the illustrations, and gestures and humorous touches, such as a dog holding the dirigible’s tether or Alberto racing horse-drawn carriages, make Alberto Santos-Dumont and his times come alive.” –BookPage

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Although Santos-Dumont's successful lift-off in 1906 took place three years after the Wright Brothers' flight, the Brazilian inventor performed the first public flight in Europe. Griffith conveys both Santos-Dumont's fanciful nature (he commutes through Paris via his dirigible) and his vision for the future of flight, telling a haberdasher, "Once people are able to fly to different countries, they will see how much we have in common." Montanari's chalky illustrations are distinguished by a strong sense of motion, and the story's suspense (rival pilots! harrowing landings!) and surprise cameos (Louis Cartier!) make this an elegant tribute to a hero of early aviation. Ages 5–9. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
Gr 1–4—Santos-Dumont is credited as being the first one to get an airplane off the ground under its own power, in 1906. In this fictionalized account, readers learn of the man's idiosyncratic and highly inventive nature. Although he was born in Brazil, he later made Paris his home where he became a larger-than-life personality, partly because of his reputation for—and the spectacle of—his chosen mode of transportation to run everyday errands: a dirigible. His quest to move through the air at a faster pace and for greater distances led to his invention of a biplane. Along the way, children learn that it was Santos-Dumont's need to keep track of time while being airborne that led his friend Louis Cartier to invent the wristwatch. Montanari captures the look, dress, and formality of the era in her splendid, impressionistic pastel, chalk, and oil paintings. The endnotes add details and facts about the life of this charismatic, adventurous man and mark his place in aviation history.—Maggie Chase, Boise State University, ID
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—Move over Orville and Wilber Wright and meet Alberto Santos-Dumont, the Brazilian inventor living in Paris who should have been dubbed the father of flight. With the help of his watchmaker best friend, Louis Cartier, Alberto was able to wear the first men's wristwatch to perfectly time his aerodynamic feats while being challenged to be the first to fly. Victoria Griffith's lovely book (Abrams, 2011) tells the story of how "Alberto Santos-Dumont loved floating over Paris in his own personal flying machine" and became the first man to lift off and land a completely self-propelled plane. Pair the audio with the hardcover book for a wonderful read-along and so that listeners can peruse Eva Montanari's pastel, chalk, and oil illustrations. Narrator Jeff Woodman conveys the era with perfect pacing and turns a potentially dry topic into an inspiring story. There's also an author's note and a selected bibliography chronicling the aviator's life. Purchase where biographical read-alongs are popular.—Amanda Schiavulli, West Orange Public Library, NJ
Kirkus Reviews

So the Wright Brothers were the first to fly? Au contraire, asserts Griffith in this rare portrait of a little-known (in this country, at least) early aviator.

An immensely popular figure in his day, the Brazilian-born Alberto Santos-Dumont invented a personal dirigible that he steered around the Eiffel Tower and drove out to run errands. Griffith's prose isn't always polished ("If Blériot succeeded to fly first...."), but her narrative makes her subject's stature clear as she takes him from a luncheon with jeweler Louis Cartier, who invented the wristwatch to help his friend keep track of his time in the air, to his crowning aeronautical achievement in 1906: He beat out both the secretive Wrights and pushy rival Louis Blériot as the first to fly an aircraft that could take off and land on its own power. The author covers his career in more detail in a closing note (with photos), ascribing his eventual suicide in part to remorse that, instead of ushering in an era of peace as he had predicted, aircraft were being used in warfare. Montanari's genteel pastel-and-chalk pictures of turn-of-the-20th-century Paris and Parisians don't capture how much larger than life Santos-Dumont was, but they do succeed in helping Griffith bring him to American audiences.

A generous spirit and penchant for grand gestures make him all the more worth knowing—particularly for American audiences unaware that there is any question about who was the first to fly. (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 8-10)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781419700118
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/2011
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 573,308
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: 730L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 12.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Victoria Griffith has worked as an international journalist, writing about everything from Julia Child to the Amazon rain forest. She lives in Boston with her husband and their three daughters. Eva Montanari is an internationally recognized author and illustrator. She lives in Rimini, Italy.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2013

    Highly Recommended

    I bought this for an eight year old boy and he loved it. Especially since he is studying French and learning about France. And I learned about a man I had never heard of before reading this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Mom¿s Choice Awards Recipient!

    The Fabulous Flying Machines of Alberto Santos-Dumont is a recipient of the prestigious Mom's Choice Award. The Mom's Choice Awards honors excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, children, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists and others. A sampling of the panel members includes: Dr. Twila C. Liggett, ten-time Emmy-winner, professor and founder of PBS's Reading Rainbow; Julie Aigner-Clark, Creator of Baby Einstein and The Safe Side Project; Jodee Blanco, and New York Times best-selling Author; LeAnn Thieman, motivational speaker and coauthor of seven Chicken Soup For The Soul books. Parents and educators look for the Mom's Choice Awards seal in selecting quality materials and products for children and families.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2011

    GREAT BOOK ABOUT WHO REALLY FLEW THE FIRST AIRPLANE

    Was it really the Wright Brothers who flew the first airplane! Or a Brazilian coffee heir?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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