Pamela Duncan Edwards, Author, Henry Cole, Illustrator
Pamela Duncan Edwards, Author, Henry Cole, Illustrator , illus. by Henry Cole. Hyperion $15.99 (36p) ISBN 978-0-7868-1951-5
Reviewed on: 06/16/2003
Release date: 06/01/2003

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)

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