cover image Wilbur Wright Meets Lady Liberty

Wilbur Wright Meets Lady Liberty

Robert Burleigh, illus. by Wendell Minor. Holt/Ottaviano, $19.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-62779-368-1

In this measured telling, previous collaborators Burleigh and Minor recount the first public flying exhibition of Wilbur and Orville Wright’s airplane, during a 1909 technology showcase in New York City. As the pages turn, Wilbur Wright straps a red canoe to the bottom of the Wright Flyer before piloting it over New York Harbor, around the Statue of Liberty, and over the Lusitania. Omniscient narration juxtaposes Wilbur Wright’s measured, methodical actions and observations (“His feet brace... His grip tightens”) with mounting excitement: “The Flyer angles upward into the air: Ten feet. Thirty feet. Fifty!” Though enthusiastic commentary flanks the moment-by-moment account, the description of Wilbur’s skilled, unruffled performance creates an understated tone. Realistic gouache watercolors offer varying perspectives that give scale to both statue and plane. Bookending the story is a second one about a boy who was inspired on that day; intermittent spreads depict sepia-toned portraits of Juan Trippe—who would later found Pan American Airways—alongside imagined spectator comments. Back matter includes creators’ notes, a brief recap of the Wright brothers’ endeavors, and other information about the exhibition. Ages 5–9. [em](Mar.) [/em]