The Daring Miss Quimby

Overview

This joyful and bright picture book presents the uplifting story of a courageous woman who just had to put her head into the clouds. Includes time line of women in aviation, author's note, and selected bibliography.


In 1912, airplanes looked like bicycles with wings. Only men flew these scary new machines. When a spirited young woman named Harriet Quimby decided to learn to fly, everyone said it would be too...

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Overview

This joyful and bright picture book presents the uplifting story of a courageous woman who just had to put her head into the clouds. Includes time line of women in aviation, author's note, and selected bibliography.


In 1912, airplanes looked like bicycles with wings. Only men flew these scary new machines. When a spirited young woman named Harriet Quimby decided to learn to fly, everyone said it would be too dangerous. But Harriet tried it anyway! She was the first woman in the United States to earn her pilot's license. Soon the whole country was just wild about her! Harriet loved the attention and designed a purple flight suit to stand out even more. Before long she was the first woman to fly across the English Channel.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this portrait of Harriet Quimby, an independent daredevil who, in 1911, became the first woman in the U.S. to gain a pilot’s license, vibrant watercolors re-create an era when planes “looked more like bicycles with wings.” Flying the English Channel, Quimby’s plane is shown awash in thick fog, until she spots the shore and lands to an excited crowd and much acclaim. Quimby’s final flight, which resulted in her early death, is explained against an open expanse of water as the sun breaks through clouds. But the story ends on an uplifting note, explaining that Quimby paved the way for future female pilots. Ages 5–8. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Paula K. Zeller
In the early 1900s, when airplanes looked like "bicycles with wings," Harriet Quimby scored some firsts, including the first U.S. woman to earn a pilot's license and the first woman to fly solo across the English Channel. Quimby loved attention as much as adventure and so she designed a hooded, purple satin flight suit that became her trademark. But flying was a dangerous enterprise in those days and she died during an air show at the age of thirty-seven, less than a year after her first foray into the air. Author Suzanne George Whitaker writes, "She envisioned the day it would be possible for women to soar through the skies and have a career in flying if they desired one," and she did help pave the way for future female pilots and astronauts. This straightforward and entertaining account of Quimby's flying career portrays a woman who was daring for her time and even ours. Catherine Stock's pencil-and-watercolor illustrations convey the exhilaration of flight and of Quimby's fame, as well as the vulnerability of one person alone in a primitive machine high above the earth. If only the vibrant purple of her flight suit were on display in the inside illustrations as it is on the cover. But that is a small quibble for this well researched book, which includes a time line of women in aviation, an author's note, a photo of the glamorous pilot, suggested websites, and a selected bibliography. Reviewer: Paula K. Zeller
School Library Journal
Gr 2–5—Harriet Quimby was a writer and adventurer who became the first woman in the United States to receive a pilot's license and the first woman to fly solo across the English Channel. This picture-book biography briefly recounts her interest in flying, her short-lived fame as an aviatrix, and her untimely death less than a year after receiving her license. Whitaker's text flows well, and a time line and author's note at the back of the book provide more information about Quimby's place in aviation history. The two or three paragraphs of text per spread are surrounded by Stock's bright, fluid watercolors. The energetic illustrations reflect the facts of the story and impart a sense of the excitement surrounding the early air shows. Readers will glean additional period details through Stock's depictions of the pilot's dress and the airplanes she flew. Marissa Moss's Brave Harriet (Harcourt, 2001) is a more abbreviated, fictionalized account of Quimby's life. Daring is a good choice for children looking for an accessible book about early female flyers beyond Amelia Earhart and Bessie Coleman.—Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT
Kirkus Reviews
A fearless female becomes an inspiring American aviation icon in this biography of Harriet Quimby's brief, daring life. After seeing her first air show in 1910, magazine writer Quimby completed 33 flying lessons in three months to become the first American woman to earn a pilot's license. As a pilot on the air-show circuit, she soon dazzled fans in her purple satin flight suit. In April 1912 she flew through dense fog to become the first female to fly solo across the English Channel. Three months later she fell to her untimely death during an air show over Boston Harbor, terminating her short-lived career. Whitaker's lively text highlights Quimby's pioneer spirit that set the stage for later female aviators like Amelia Earhart, Bessie Coleman, Anne Lindbergh and Sally Ride. Stock's equally lively, energetic watercolor illustrations capture Quimby's spirited enthusiasm as she fearlessly tackles roadsters, racecars and flying machines, and convey the glamour, excitement and danger of early aviation. An accessible introduction to Quimby and her enduring role in aviation history. (timeline of women in aviation; author's note; suggested websites; selected bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823419968
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/15/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,395,952
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Suzanne George Whitaker has flying in her blood. Her father was in the air force, and her brother flies commercial jets. One summer Suzanne saw a beautiful picture of Harriet. She had to know more; and this, her first picture book, is the product of her curiosity. Suzanne has worked as an elementary and middle school teacher and is currently a reading specialist. She lives in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Catherine Stock has illustrated many picture books. Her previous books for Holiday House, which she also wrote, are A Spree in Paree, described as "lovely and lively" by The New York Times, and A Porc in New York, which Booklist praised in a starred review. Catherine divides her time between New York City, France, and South Africa. Her website is www.catherinestock.com.

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