cover image Planes Fly!

Planes Fly!

George Ella Lyon, illus. by Mick Wiggins. S&S/Atheneum, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4424-5025-7

Newcomer Wiggins's luminous artwork is an inspired choice for this celebration of airplanes, a companion to 2007's Trucks Roll! Crisp silhouettes and pale blue skies convey sleekness and speed, while the retro imagery suggests a series of vintage travel posters. Lyon's simple verse provides the scaffolding for powerful images: "Big air buses/ room-for-all-of-us-es./ Planes fly!" To accompany this, Wiggins draws a head-on portrait of a massive, gracefully contoured jet wing, drawn with a dynamism that reveals it as the masterpiece of 20th-century design that it is. Small details don't escape Wiggins's notice, either; in another spread, a wide-eyed boy is served dinner ("Eat a little snack") while a paunchy middle-aged passenger snores across the aisle ("Take a little nap"). Lyon describes the characteristics of flight and the different uses of airplanes, supplying plenty of official-sounding jargon to satisfy kids' thirst for information: "Rudders, flaps/ ailerons, tail/ steer the plane/ around storms or hail." But it's Wiggins's ability to draw absorbing and dramatic stories from each of Lyon's telegraphic phrases that makes this book soar. Ages 4 – 7. Author's agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (July)