A Biplane and Her Boy

Mary Coleman-Woolslayer, illus. by Kevin Stark
Mary Coleman-Woolslayer, illus. by Kevin Stark. Tigermoth, $24.95 (48p) ISBN 978-0-9844785-0-7
Reviewed on: 10/01/2012
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Steeped in nostalgia, this story pays homage both to a vintage Stearman biplane and the joy of flying. Coleman-Woolslayer's narrative introduces an anthropomorphized old biplane named Betty Lou, whose glory days are behind her. Relegated to a "silent and lonely hangar" in Texas, Betty Lou reminisces about flying and wonders if she'll ever "soar above the clouds again in full flight." Her imagination sends her into the air, where she performs aerobatic feats ("Betty Lou loved the sound of her brace wires screaming in the wind"). Despite the title, the boy—more aptly a young man—doesn't appear until halfway through the story: recalling the pilots who "graced her cockpit," Betty Lou remembers one in particular, a boy "who lived—and loved—to fly." Though he sells the biplane for a newer plane, he never forgets Betty Lou, and he searches her out to buy her back. Stark's graceful art offers realistic portrayals of planes and people alike (Betty Lou's checkerboard and striped paint job pops against the bright blue sky), underscoring the story's focus on the intimate relationship between pilot and plane. Ages 6–12.
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