Sky Sailors: True Stories of the Balloon Era

Overview

For more than a century before airplanes, people explored the sky in balloons. From 1783 to the early 1900s, aeronauts flew into storms, crossed large bodies of water, sailed over enemy armies, and soared to deadly altitudes. Illustrated in full color with dramatuc period artwork, Sky Sailors by David L. Bristow presents the stories of the pioneers of human flight, such as daredevil Sophie Blanchard from Napoleon's France, and Salomon Andree, who lead an aerial ...

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Sky Sailors: True Stories of the Balloon Era

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Overview

For more than a century before airplanes, people explored the sky in balloons. From 1783 to the early 1900s, aeronauts flew into storms, crossed large bodies of water, sailed over enemy armies, and soared to deadly altitudes. Illustrated in full color with dramatuc period artwork, Sky Sailors by David L. Bristow presents the stories of the pioneers of human flight, such as daredevil Sophie Blanchard from Napoleon's France, and Salomon Andree, who lead an aerial assault on the North Pole in 1897.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The stories, divided by subheadings, are presented in chronological order (occasionally building on one another) and written in an anecdotal fashion with lots of dialogue and an emphasis on the strange, the dangerous, and the exciting.” –Horn Book

“An inviting title for kids making their first ascents into longer works of nonfiction.” –Starred, Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Vivid detail, imaginative storytelling, and artwork from the period all make for a compelling account of a bygone time.” –School Library Journal

“This lively look at escapades of daring men—and a surprising number of women—who risked their lives flying in balloons will appeal to adventure, history and science buffs—and perhaps steampunk fans as well.” –Kirkus Reviews

“A quick but never uninteresting journey through a little-covered subject that is sure to inspire readers to search for more stories like these.” –Booklist

“Ah to be in a  balloon. So peaceful, so quiet, seeing all below. This marvelous book tells you all about it.” —Michael Collins, Gemini 10 and Apollo 11 astronaut and author of Flying to the Moon: An Astronaut’s Story

Children's Literature - Greg M. Romaneck
In 1783 villagers near Gonesse, France were seized with panic. A huge circular "being" was descending from the sky trailing behind itself a netlike tail. Once the "beast" settled to earth it swayed back and forth as if hunting a victim. Farmers armed with pitchforks and picks attacked the "monster" only to find that it dissolved into a silk-like skin. In short order the villagers came to realize that the "monster" was manmade and, in reality, a gas filled balloon. It is the story of balloon design and the aerialists who braved the skies in pursuit of adventure that makes up the content of this interesting work. In Sky Sailors readers will encounter daring, and sometimes foolish, balloonists whose exploits entertained and fascinated people during the 18th and 19th centuries. Many of the stories encompassed in this book will be unfamiliar to readers who live in a world where airplanes soar across the sky. However, by recounting the exploits of aerial pioneers who set the stage for different modes of flight in later years, David L. Bristow has crafted a book that will appeal to adventuresome readers. Reviewer: Greg M. Romaneck
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—With equal parts adventure and science, Bristow chronicles the invention and development of the hot-air balloon, from initial attempts in France in 1783 that were viewed with suspicion and fear, through the very early 20th century when people were using balloons to execute daring feats to entertain crowds. The writing is crisp and lively, and readers will be easily drawn into the stories of these early risk-takers. Vivid detail, imaginative storytelling, and artwork from the period all make for a compelling account of a bygone time. Thorough source notes, an extensive bibliography, and further-reading lists are included.—Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA
Kirkus Reviews

This lively look at escapades of daring men--and a surprising number of women--who risked their lives flying in balloons will appeal to adventure, history and science buffs--and perhaps steampunk fans as well. Each of the nine chapters, which are chronologically arranged, focuses on an exciting story, starting with the first confirmed human balloon flight in 1783, which landed safely, and ending with Dolly Shepherd, a young British woman in the early 1900s who parachuted out of balloons, hanging onto a trapeze. It recounts longest flights and highest ones, flights across water and to far-off points, some of which ended in death. An accidental balloon flight in 1858 of an eight-year-old girl and her younger brother, both of whom survived the 13-hour journey, will especially intrigue readers and lends itself well to booktalking. The conversational narrative, which often refers to the adventurers' childhoods, incorporates ample quotes and anecdotes as well as explanations of such topics as buoyancy, hydrogen and altitude sickness. Useful captions accompany the many full-color illustrations of artwork and photographs. (notes, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374370145
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 9/28/2010
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 1,019,745
  • Age range: 9 - 13 Years
  • Lexile: 850L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

DAVID L. BRISTOW is also the author of A Dirty, Wicked Town: Tales of 19th Century Omaha. He is associate director for research and publications at the Nebraska State Historical Society and editor of Nebraska History Magazine. He lives in Lincoln, Nebraska. Sky Sailors is his first children's book.

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