High Flight: A Story of World War II

Overview

Royal Canadian Air Force Pilot John Magee was only nineteen years old when he wrote the poem “High Flight” in 1941. Born in Shanghai and educated at Rugby School in England, Magee showed early promise as a poet. Impatient to take part in the war raging in Europe, Magee gave up a place at Yale University to enlist in the RCAF. Not long after writing “High Flight,” John Magee was killed in an air accident in Britain.

Since its publication in a church bulletin, “High Flight” has ...

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Overview

Royal Canadian Air Force Pilot John Magee was only nineteen years old when he wrote the poem “High Flight” in 1941. Born in Shanghai and educated at Rugby School in England, Magee showed early promise as a poet. Impatient to take part in the war raging in Europe, Magee gave up a place at Yale University to enlist in the RCAF. Not long after writing “High Flight,” John Magee was killed in an air accident in Britain.

Since its publication in a church bulletin, “High Flight” has become the anthem for all who love to fly. Linda Granfield tells the story of Magee and the terrible air battles of the Second World War in a book lovingly illustrated by Michael Martchenko. A fitting tribute to the 75th anniversary of the RCAF, and a heartfelt reminder of the beauty of the skies for all members of the USAF.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Donna Freedman
John Gillespie Magee Jr. was just nineteen and training with the Royal Canadian Air Force when he wrote what he called a "ditty" about the glories of flying. That ditty was "High Flight." You've probably heard it--it begins, "Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth / And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings..." (Among other things, it was recited when the Challenger crashed, and was a staple for years on late-night television signoffs). Author Granfield tells the too-short life story of Magee, who died in a training accident soon after writing the sonnet. Born in Shanghai to an American missionary family and educated at a famous English boarding school, Magee joined the RCAF because he wanted to get to the war in a hurry and the United States had not yet entered the fray. The engaging text also tells about life on the home front, with kid-friendly details such as the fact that British children carried gas masks at all times, even while at play. Martchenko's illustrations are warm and evocative, and work well with the text in depicting a youth of privilege who grew up in a hurry and who would have made a fine man--if he'd lived.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780887764691
  • Publisher: Tundra
  • Publication date: 8/28/1999
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 3 months - 18 years
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 10.29 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Linda Granfield is the author of over 15 non-fiction titles for young readers, which are very popular with adult readers as well. Granfield’s writings bring history to life with such works as 97 Orchard Street, New York: Stories of Immigrant Live, In Flanders Fields: The Story of the Poem by John McCrae, Pier 21: Gateway of Hope and the acclaimed Amazing Grace: The Story of the Hymn. Linda Granfield lives in Toronto.

Michael Martchenko is best known for his lively, colorful Robert Munsch books. He is also a fine artist, with a particular interest in collecting and painting military memorabilia. Using a detailed, painterly style, he has illustrated the planes that are his passion. Michael Martchenko lives in Toronto.

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