To Fly: The Story of the Wright Brothers

Overview

Orville and Wilbur Wright were a fascinating pair. Not only did they invent, build, and fly the first airplane, they were also idiosyncratic individuals who had a unique relationship, sharing a home, a bank account, and a business throughout their lives. Their story is portrayed here in brief, accessible chapters, beginning with their childhood fascination with flight and love of problem solving, then detailing their early experiments and dangerous trial runs in North Carolina, and ending with their successful ...

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Overview

Orville and Wilbur Wright were a fascinating pair. Not only did they invent, build, and fly the first airplane, they were also idiosyncratic individuals who had a unique relationship, sharing a home, a bank account, and a business throughout their lives. Their story is portrayed here in brief, accessible chapters, beginning with their childhood fascination with flight and love of problem solving, then detailing their early experiments and dangerous trial runs in North Carolina, and ending with their successful flights of 1903. This well-researched and personable biography is illustrated with elegant watercolors by flight enthusiast and noted artist Robert Andrew Parker, and will be published just in time for the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first flight. Timeline, endnotes, bibliography.

Traces the work that the two Wright brothers did together to develop the first machine-powered aircraft.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Consistent themes inform without undue moralizing. . . . Straightforward text employs simple sentences and familiar language. . . . Impressionistic. . . celebrat[es] the majesty of flight . . .
Horn Book

"Particularly smooth reading, sharply focused…this is no childish picture book. Old’s offering claims a Wrightful place." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Starred

"A solid book…smoothly told, with details deftly included. Parker’s watercolors…suit the daredevil ricketiness of the Wright Brothers invention." New York Review of Books

"With a straightforward text, Old's use of detail . . . is easily accessible . . . illustrations by Robert Andrew Parker are splendid."—Riverbank Review Riverbank Review

"simple sentences and familiar language ...an early chapter book...impressionistic scenes...celebrating the majesty of flight." The HORN BOOK GUIDE Horn Book Guide

Publishers Weekly
Behind the world's first manned flight were Orville and Wilbur Wright, two brothers with a dream and the determination to carry it out. In this rather dry biography, Old (The Wright Brothers: Inventors of the Airplane, for older readers) draws on a wealth of historical and personal facts (the brothers wore business suits during their beachside experiments; they lived at home and never married). She recounts the Wrights' childhood fascination with flying ("Many a night [Orville] lay in his bed in Dayton, Ohio, imagining what it would be like to swoop through the sky"), their experiments with kites and gliders, and the events of December 1903, when they flew four short flights off the dunes of Kitty Hawk, N.C. Clearly written passages explain how the brothers drew on their personal strengths Orville was the idea man, Wilbur the problem-solver to overcome such knotty scientific obstacles as air pressure (they built a wind tunnel in a washtub). The exhaustive details are well supported by Parker's (Cold Feet) sophisticated ink-and-wash illustrations, which resemble the fast, loose sketches of a scientific notebook and retain a suitably airy feel. His drawings of the brothers' Kitty Hawk attempts soar off the page and prove more inspiring than the academic tone of the writing. For young history and flying buffs, this book capably delivers the facts, then sends imaginations into flight on the wings of the illustrations. Ages 7-11. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-Some may question whether anyone needs another book on the Wright brothers. What is there new to say? Many biographies sufficiently document their trials, errors, and successes. And like Russell Freedman's The Wright Brothers (Holiday, 1991), they benefit from careful research; the brothers themselves took and left copious notes and photographs. The advantage of this presentation is its style and accessibility and the story it tells of two brothers (alike in goals, different in personalities) who had ideas and kept at them, whose parents nurtured those ideas, that creativity, and critical thinking. Old takes readers along with a chronological approach and stops after the first heavier-than-air manned flight. She relates how two bicycle repairmen solved the problems that leading scientists of the time had been unable to master. She carefully and almost effortlessly helps youngsters to understand the steps: wind resistance, drag, the need for rounded front edges on a propeller, more accurate air-pressure tables. But her story ultimately shows how the brothers worked together-almost in tandem-like the bicycle wheels in their shop, and how each man's strengths complemented the other's. Parker's characteristic watercolors do more than inform Old's straightforward story. They help to set an inventive tone-a kind of experimental fluidity that floats through the book-as if something might be going to happen. And for young readers, something indeed does.-Harriett Fargnoli, Great Neck Library, NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Old (Wright Brothers: Inventors of the Airplane, 2000) aims for a (somewhat) younger audience with this fresh account of the brothers' early years and their methodical quest. An oversized format offers enough space to make almost all of 15 chapters only one page long and she's chosen just the right amount of information for each plus an epilogue. With careful documentation of the instances that include speech, this reads comfortably like a story, but is clearly nonfiction. Parker, whose art is so essential to the depiction of Jackson Pollock in Action Jackson (p. 1223) here uses his loosely drawn watercolors to add more atmosphere than information. Still readers will come away with not only a clearer picture of the false starts and systematic experimentation that led to the flight at Kitty Hawk as well as some basic understanding about aerodynamics, but how Wilbur and Orville combined complementary skills and temperaments to make such a brilliant team. (timeline, bibliography, index) (Biography. 7-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618133475
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/28/2002
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 449,886
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: 780L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.50 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Andrew Parker has illustrated more than seventy books for children, including THE HATMAKER'S SIGHN (Orchard Books) and, most recently, SLEDS ON BOSTON COMMON (Simon & Schuster). His POP CORN AND MA GOODNESS was a Caldecott Honor Book. Mr. Parker lives in West Cornwall, Connecticut.
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