Royal Canadian Air Force Pilot John Magee was only nineteen years old when he wrote the poem “High Flight” in 1941. Born in Shanghai and educated at Rugby School in England, Magee showed early promise as a poet. Impatient to take part in the war raging in Europe, Magee gave up a place at Yale University to enlist in the RCAF. Not long after writing “High Flight,” John Magee was killed in an air accident in Britain.
Since its publication in a church bulletin, “High Flight” has become the anthem for all who love to fly. Linda Granfield tells the story of Magee and the terrible air battles of the Second World War in a book lovingly illustrated by Michael Martchenko. A fitting tribute to the 75th anniversary of the RCAF, and a heartfelt reminder of the beauty of the skies for all members of the USAF.
|Product dimensions:||8.40(w) x 10.29(h) x 0.40(d)|
|Age Range:||3 Months to 18 Years|
About the Author
Linda Granfield is the author of over 15 non-fiction titles for young readers, which are very popular with adult readers as well. Granfield’s writings bring history to life with such works as 97 Orchard Street, New York: Stories of Immigrant Live, In Flanders Fields: The Story of the Poem by John McCrae, Pier 21: Gateway of Hope and the acclaimed Amazing Grace: The Story of the Hymn. Linda Granfield lives in Toronto.
Michael Martchenko is best known for his lively, colorful Robert Munsch books. He is also a fine artist, with a particular interest in collecting and painting military memorabilia. Using a detailed, painterly style, he has illustrated the planes that are his passion. Michael Martchenko lives in Toronto.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reason for Reading: real aloud to ds as part of our history curriculum.This is a "picture book" biography for older kids of the short and tragic life of John Gillespie Magee, Jr. Living only a short 19 years many countries claim him as one of their own. Born in Shanghai, China to missionary parents he was sent to boarding school in England at nine years of age. He returned to live with his parents, now in the US, in time to start college. An American citizen by birth , his British accent set him apart from others his age and he thought of England as home. When World War II broke out newspapers reported of air attacks on his beloved England. The United States was not in the the war yet, nor would it be for several more years, so John went to Canada and signed up with the RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) where he knew he would be fighting on Britain's side.John was not a very mature 18 year old when he entered the army and had troubles with his superiors in following orders and was often called on for dangerous flying. He was otherwise, an all around well-liked kid by his peers and those who had dealings with him. John liked to try his hand at poetry, often going to the extreme romantic side but one day after writing a letter to his parents he turned it over and wrote a "ditty" he had composed in his head while out practice flying on his own one evening. This was the poem he called "High Flight". His parents were impressed and took it to church with them where they shared it and his Aunt sent it in to the local paper. From there it caught on with the papers world wide and "High Flight" became the most famous poem to come out of World War II. Three months later John would be dead after his plane crashed into another during flying formation manoeuvres.This book is the short story of his tragic life, the story of how a famous poem came to be written, and the story of the wasted youth who die in war. This is a good book, entertaining but not exactly exciting as Magee didn't really have that exciting of a life but he left his mark and it is a bittersweet tale. Ds, who is ten and autistic, even realized the youth of John and commented on it many times. Ds has a 21 year old brother and he just couldn't comprehend an 18/19 yo fighting and dying in a war. Good lesson learned. Unfortunately neither of us are very crazy for this poem but Martchenko's illustrations are as wonderful as expected being one of the foremost children's illustrators in Canada.Interesting tidbit of info: When this book was first being published, I was working on a kidlit Canadian historical fiction/biography project online for the homeschool community (though it became popular with other educators) and Linda emailed me asking for my address. The aforementioned 21yo brother (turning 22 this month!) who was 10 at the time, was thrilled to receive a postcard from Linda Granfield of this book with a personal note to him on the back. We still have it, though for some reason it is tucked inside our copy of "Flanders Fields".