cover image The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane

The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane

Russell Freedman. Holiday House, $24.95 (129pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-0875-7

Newbery winner Freedman ( Lincoln: A Photobiography ) has again produced a vivid, superior biography. This time focusing on a well-known pair of brothers, he effectively transforms our perception of the subjects as distant cultural icons into tireless, flesh-and- blood heroes. In understated, involving prose--skillfully laced with pertinent excerpts from journals, letters and contemporary accounts--Freedman lays out a clear and compelling history of the early aviation experiments that culminated in the legendary flight at Kitty Hawk. As with Lincoln , photographs are integral to Freedman's exposition and he makes ample, effective use of the many astonishing photos taken by the brothers in order to better document their experiments. Youngsters cannot fail to come away with a heightened understanding of the Wrights' dedication to manned flight and to the painstakingly slow process of invention. Ages 10-up. (Apr.)