TOMBOY OF THE AIR: Daredevil Pilot Blanche Stuart Scott

Julie Cummins, Author . HarperCollins $16.95 (80p) ISBN 978-0-06-029138-9

Cummins's (Wings of an Artist) swiftly moving biography of this little-known female aviation pioneer may well thrill fans of both flying and firsts. At the turn of the century, most young women in Blanche Stuart Scott's place in society were relegated to genteel tea parties. Blanche, however, sought speed and thrills—at age 13 in 1902, her father gave her an automobile in which she terrorized the streets of Rochester, N.Y. Cummins effectively conveys Blanche's impetuous character through her quotes and her deeds, from taking a job as an automobile saleswoman after college, to planning what she thought would be the first transcontinental driving trip by a woman (Alice Ramsey beat her to it), to becoming the first woman in America to fly a plane in public. Blanche would reach many milestones. She not only performed daring stunts in the big air shows (where she earned the nickname "Tomboy of the Air") but also starred in an early motion picture called The Aviator's Bride. Not everyone was supportive of her talents: she survived several attempts on her life by jealous competitors or critics convinced women should not fly. Several threads will particularly appeal to readers, such as Blanche's unwavering belief in her lucky red sweater. Through the life of this one woman, Cummins portrays an era of rapid change and society's view of a woman's place in it. Period black-and-white photos and prints enhance the narrative. Ages 8-14. (July)

Reviewed on: 07/02/2001
Release date: 07/01/2001
Library Binding - 80 pages - 978-0-06-029243-0
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