The Wright Brothers

The Wright Brothers

by Pamela Duncan Edwards, Henry Cole
     
 

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The Wright boys' interest in flying began with a toy given to them when they were small children. As young men, they first opened a printing shop and then a bicycle shop, all the while experimenting with how to design a flying machine. Finally they achieved their incredible goal-man's first powered flight. In this accessible picture book with a "House that Jack Built"

Overview

The Wright boys' interest in flying began with a toy given to them when they were small children. As young men, they first opened a printing shop and then a bicycle shop, all the while experimenting with how to design a flying machine. Finally they achieved their incredible goal-man's first powered flight. In this accessible picture book with a "House that Jack Built" approach, young readers are gradually introduced to all the steps that led up to the Wright brother's remarkable historic accomplishment.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Joining a lineup of books commemorating the 100th anniversary of the first flight, this cumulative tale from a pair of seasoned collaborators (Muldoon) packs an informational wallop as it plays to a primary-grade audience. "This is the sky, high and wide, which was conquered in flight in 1903," it begins, and each turn of the page adds a new element of Wilbur and Orville's journey from boyhood to their triumph at Kitty Hawk. From the flying toy they played with as youngsters to the bicycle shop they owned to the various kites and gliders they tested before meeting with success, the narrative builds up to quite a mouthful, but young readers will probably get a kick out of it. Peanut-gallery-style remarks from a group of mice ("Air-sick bag? Check!") who comment on the proceedings explain some of the more technical aspects ("The movable tail rudder means we'll be able to make turns"). Cole's expansive illustrations cast the sky as a silent character, whose over-arching presence anchors the impressionistic images. The text skimps on dates and place names, but a timeline on the endpapers (complete with airborne mice) fills many of these gaps. Ages 5-9. (June) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Written much in the style of "This is the house that Jack built," this is a unique introductory book to the story of the Wright brothers and their extraordinary adventures. Throughout the book the reader will find a group of little mice who comment on the goings-on shown in each double-page spread. The author uses the mice to give readers a lot more information than is provided in the text. They tell us about how the brothers worked as newspaper men, how they opened a bicycle shop and how they figured out what was needed to make a plane that would fly. Apparently the brothers observed some buzzards flying above their bicycle shop, and seeing those big wings at work gave them the clues they needed to start building their own kites, gliders, and finally, their famous first airplanes. The mice are also a source of amusement with their funny quips and antics. In addition, these clever little rodents are featured in a timeline of flight that can be found in the front and back cover of the book. With a clever twist on the conventional picture book design, this is a wonderful tribute to the Wright brothers on the one hundred-year anniversary of their historic flight at Kitty Hawk. Readers may like to look at some of the other books that this author and illustrator have created together, which include Honk! The Story of a Prima Swanerina and Ed and Fred Flea. 2003, Hyperion,
— Marya Jansen-Gruber
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-This rather slight picture book follows a "House That Jack Built" pattern and quickly becomes tiresome. One cannot sustain interest with the awkward refrain, "which was conquered in flight in 1903." Edwards does employ a clever device to help tell the Wrights' story-little mice scampering across the pages with asides to one another that actually contain significant facts and humorous opinions. However, it may be difficult for young readers to distinguish between the two. This approach is reminiscent of Robert Quackenbush's Take Me Out to the Airfield! (Parents' Magazine, 1976; o.p.), which has a more enlightened and accessible text. Cole's drawings seem to mature as the book progresses, but his human figures appear somewhat underdeveloped and expressionless. Endpapers with a streaming pink ribbon of facts construct an interesting and inventive time line, one of the better features of the book.-Harriett Fargnoli, Great Neck Library, NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This author/illustrator duo turns its whimsy to the Wright brothers as they remodel the device of "The House That Jack Built" to explain the steps that led to the historic first flight. The cumulative story becomes tedious ("This is the bicycle shop opened by Wilbur and Orville years after making a printing press designed by the brothers, whose interest in flying was sparked by a toy . . ."), but is offset by comments and asides from a band of four talking mice who observe the various stages and cleverly add humor, bits of information, and interest. Perspectives in the colorful illustrations convey airiness and contrast effectively with the small mice on the ground. Endpapers display a ribboned flight timeline animated with the miming mice. Among the plethora of books on the subject this year, most of them straightforward, none has taken a humorous approach, which makes this more accessible to young readers. (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786826827
Publisher:
Disney-Hyperion
Publication date:
06/28/2003
Pages:
36
Product dimensions:
11.37(w) x 9.37(h) x 0.25(d)
Age Range:
5 - 9 Years

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