The Flyers

Overview

Just in time for the 2003 centennial of the Wright brothers' historic flight

The arrival of Orville and Wilbur Wright in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, with their “crazy kite” of an airplane inspires five local kids to envision their own flying machines, from sky buses that could carry hundreds of people around the world to an unbelievable machine that could go to the moon! Following each step leading up to Orville Wright’s first history-making, ...

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Overview

Just in time for the 2003 centennial of the Wright brothers' historic flight

The arrival of Orville and Wilbur Wright in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, with their “crazy kite” of an airplane inspires five local kids to envision their own flying machines, from sky buses that could carry hundreds of people around the world to an unbelievable machine that could go to the moon! Following each step leading up to Orville Wright’s first history-making, twelve-second flight on December 17, 1903, the children take flights of their own, letting the ocean breeze catch their coattails as they dash across the dunes.

This whimsical tale comes to life with charming prose and airy watercolors, accompanied by a pictorial time line. The author’s tribute to the most wonderful flights of all – those of the imagination – lets us soar like the Wright brothers.

In 1903, a group of children on the beach at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, dream of flying and witness the first flight of the Wright brothers. Includes a chronology of milestones in the history of flight.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
It's 1903, and five children in Kitty Hawk, N.C., have a front-row seat as the Wright Brothers prepare for the first sustained self-powered flight. The aviation pioneers' work inspires each child to muse on the way he or she would make use of the seemingly magical ability to soar into the sky. Josie dreams of flying across the ocean, Davey wants to attack his foes in a winged war machine, Jamie conjures up the spitting image of a commercial airliner, and so on. Drummond's (Liberty!) visual signature-a lighter-than-air ink line and puffs of translucent watercolor-perfectly match the subject matter. His plentiful vignettes and large-scale illustrations capture both the effervescence of the children's daydreams and the determined intensity of Wilbur and Orville's preparations-which, of course, represent the fulfillment of their own dreams. Drummond applies his light touch to the text as well, narrating the historic lift-off with the elemental enthusiasm of a child: "And then the Flyer moved down into the wind, its engine roared, and the whole machine took off! Orville was at the controls and it really flew!" At the same time, he succinctly encapsulates the brothers' achievements (e.g., the narrator points out that the Wrights need "to make a flying machine that they can take off in, land, control, and steer"). Among the many books issued to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the flight at Kitty Hawk, this one stands out for its ability to harness the imagination of youngest readers and make it soar. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
When Orville and Wilbur Wright first arrive in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, with their "crazy kites" and "flying machines," they inspire a young boy and his friends to their own flights of imagination in this picture book of historical fiction. The whimsically-illustrated story flip-flops from the simple recounting of actual facts and steps in the development of controlled and sustained flight-always prefaced by the fictional child narrator as "The Wright brothers say..."-to fanciful imaginings of what the children would do in their own flying machines, from "sky buses" that could carry hundreds of people around the world to an unbelievable machine that could go to the moon. The joke, of course, is that all of the children's "impossible" ideas actually happened and were only possible because of the work of these two aviation pioneers. Readers will love the kid-oriented explanations of the Wright brothers' engineering innovations, along with the charming, airy watercolors. 2003, Frances Foster Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Ages 4 to 8.
— Dianne Ochiltree
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-This look at the Wright brothers' inaugural flight never gets off the ground. As Orville and Wilbur "fly their crazy kites," a young narrator and his friends also try to fly, scooting along the sand dunes of Kitty Hawk, arms flapping amid Drummond's pen-and-wash whorls and swirls, suggestive of the prevailing winds of the Outer Banks. The children provide the dialogue and asides to move the story along. They have the facts straight, and the Wrights are pictured in their usual, carefully knotted neckties and stiff collars along with their Flyer, the first airplane capable of powered sustained flight. Unfortunately, the youngsters also prattle on about what type of aircraft they would like to one day operate, and modern conveyances in sprightly pastels begin to sail across the pages. The images projected are right in step with today's youth, but less likely (even in the imagination) to occur to a child of 1903. The juxtaposition is slightly jarring. One boy imagines dropping "rocks and water bombs" on his young enemies. With a nod to political correctness, another youngster, the only girl and person of color, imagines flying to Africa to "scare the elephants and monkeys." The final spread briefly outlines aviation firsts; these highlights are a bit spotty and not exactly arranged in clear chronological order. Wendie Old's To Fly (Clarion, 2002) is head and shoulders above this slight, unfocused fare.-Harriett Fargnoli, Great Neck Library, NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An inventive and intriguing approach narrates the Wright brothers' historic flight on December 17, 2003. Told from one boy's point of view, he and his friends envision their own flights at Kitty Hawk as they run down the sand dunes holding their coattails open trying to fly just like Orville and Wilbur and their crazy kites. The watercolor illustrations depict the kids' imaginings of going up in various flying machines to explore in Africa, to the moon for a moonwalk, and to visit families around the world in a huge airbus. Their fascination with flying details each step, leading to the Wrights' historic 12-second flight. A final spread is a pictorial chronology of aviation milestones. The breezy illustration style makes this soar, creating an airy sensation that is whimsical while providing a context for the momentous event and its impact on the future. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374324100
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 8/6/2003
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.30 (w) x 10.24 (h) x 0.34 (d)

Meet the Author

Allan Drummond is the author and illustrator of Liberty!, Casey Jones, and Moby Dick. He lives in Dedham, England.

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