Children's Literature"The Story of Flight" series celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers' first flight and presents the history of aviation. Full-color illustrations and photographs show aviation's greatest moments, famous pilots, and numerous aircraft. This entry deals mostly with planes used in the European conflict, the British Royal Air Force, the Luftwaffe, the Battle of Britain, and reconnaissance. Women get a mention, too, but the only named one is Soviet ace, Lilya Litvyak, who flew 168 missions and shot down 12 German planes before being killed in combat at 21. The war in the Pacific and in the deserts of North Africa get a double-page spread as well. Readers will recognize some of the big names in airplane manufacture, such as Lockheed and Boeing, but the book also covers manufacturers and airlines outside of the United States. A double-page spread mentions the kinds of motored vehicles that support these large planes at airports, such as supply vehicles, mobile stairways, fuel tankers, and plane tugs, which will please boy gear-heads. Numerous small pictures with accompanying text break up the pages and encourage browsing and scanning. Each volume ends with a spotters' guide showing a series of relevant planes and listing their specs, such as country of origin, description, length, wingspan, and speed that invites readers to compare planes and their usage. An index and glossary, but no Web sites, are included. This series is bound to appeal to boy readers and its format encourages less able readers to dip in, as well. 2003, Crabtree Publishing Company, Ages 9 to 14.
Susan Hepler, Ph.D.