Skywriting: Poems to Fly


Ever since people have walked, they have dreamed of flying. Prepare to soar in this poetic celebration of dizzying heights and human innovation.

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Ever since people have walked, they have dreamed of flying. Prepare to soar in this poetic celebration of dizzying heights and human innovation.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Tracing the history of flight, this collection of poems celebrates the daring dreams of humans, from Icarus's doomed journey ("Tracing an angel's tracks,/ he rose on wings of wax") to modern space shuttles. Hot-air balloons, blimps, and rockets are featured in order of their creation, with failures (such as the Minerva and Ornithopter) portrayed as often as successes (zeppelins, the Wright Brothers' Flyer, and the Concorde). Kubinyi's precise linework and sense of movement are well-matched to the mechanical subject matter and capture the spirit of flight across the ages; endnotes and a time line offer background information. Ages 10-up. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Susan Treadway M.Ed.
Featuring artistic fonts, engaging format, and distinctive illustrations with historic flair, this book tells the story of flight in marvelous, simple poetry. Most of the poems rhyme, some of are in free verse, but all are presented to creatively express man's developing attempts to launch successful aircraft. Students will gain a fine perspective during an exploration of inventive flights with the reading of these thirteen poems. Beginning with "the Flight of Icarus" in about 800 BCE near an island southwest of Samos, Greece, humans attempted to literally fly like a bird, but failed. In 1783, French brothers attempted a short flight above Paris in a hot air balloon which actually lasted twenty-five minutes. Was there truly a flying horse, "a mare in the air" as another amazing invention? Monsieur Tetu-Brissy tried a different sort of balloon that had a large platform big enough for a horse and rider. Perhaps, however, it was a stunt with dubious execution when Monsieur Tetu exclaimed, "horse feathers!" Later in 1803, "The Minerva" was to be a monstrous boat lifted into the air by a hot air balloon carrying sixty scientists over vast lands ripe for exploration. Then there was E.P. Frost who spent a decade applying his knowledge and imagination using steam and internal combustion engines with all manner of silk, canes, and thousands of bird feathers, but to no avail. On the other hand, The Wright Brothers, LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin (an airship similar to the Hindenburg), the Concorde 001, Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk, and the Space Shuttle Columbia STS-109 are very powerful examples of highly advanced developments in engineering, science and aerospace technology that did achieve great flight in diverse fashion. Additional history and technical information is provided in the Endnotes along with a helpful Timeline for context so that further study, discussion, replicas, and hands-on explorations can follow. Extraordinary ideas with incredible results are featured here through lively poems, highlighting the ever-expanding field of flight. Reviewer: Susan Treadway, M.Ed.
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Thirteen poems celebrate innovations in flight, soaring chronologically from Icarus to the space shuttle Columbia. Not all of the airborne contraptions were successful, as in the humorous poem "Marquis d'Equevilley's Multiplane"; with an oval shape, "It was not bound/Ever to get off/the ground!" All but one of the poems rhyme, including the shape poem, "The Concorde 001." The free verse "LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin" sounds more textbook than poetic. Detailed pen-and-ink illustrations with pastel watercolors highlighting the colors of the sky, pilots, and hopeful crowds convey the excitement and wonder humans have experienced in the pursuit of flight. Endnotes offer a paragraph of introductory information about each attempt. A time line with one notable fact from each of the 13 years marked by these forms of flight, from 800 BC to AD 2002, is included. Lee Bennett Hopkins's Give Me Wings (Holiday House, 2010), which also features 13 poems about flight, is for a slightly younger audience.—Julie R. Ranelli, Queen Anne's County Free Library, Stevensville, MD
Kirkus Reviews

Thirteen buoyant poems highlight famous and infamous attempts to fly, starting with Icarus's misguided efforts to rise "on wings of wax" in 800 BCE and ending in 2002 with that "behemoth of adventure" and "front-row ticket to celestial theater in the round," Space Shuttle Columbia. Lighthearted, imagery-packed verses pay tribute to the Montgolfiers' first hot-air balloon rising "[m]errily aerially," above Paris, the Wright brothers' "legendary trail" over Kitty Hawk, the Graf Zeppelin circumnavigating the globe "[b]eyond the minor turbulence of dreams," the sleek Concorde "flying twice the speed of sound" (a concrete poem) and the Lockheed Nighthawk, a "radar evader" and "metal Darth Vader." Lewis humorously intersperses more imaginative, but doomed, approaches, including the equestrian balloon, the whimsical flying ship, the bird-winged Ornithopter, the oval Multiplane, the short-lived Airgeep and the jet-powered rocket-belt. Kubinyi's realistic, detailed pen, ink and watercolor illustrations celebrate the highs and lows of these celestial flights of fancy and reality. A lively, lyrical introduction to some of aviation's more memorable milestones. (endnotes & timeline) (Poetry. 10 & up)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781568462035
  • Publisher: Creative Company, The
  • Publication date: 9/1/2010
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,492,571
  • Age range: 8 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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