Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Book Review: Flying Cars

I am so sorry I have not written in such a long time! Graduate school has consumed my life. I resigned from working at the library in order to really focus on school. Currently I am taking a wonderful book reviewing class with the ever so amazing Janice Del Negro! I am learning so much about how to write proper book reviews and so I will probably be posting here a little bit more because of this.

Here is a book review I wrote for a new book that comes out in August, 2015. It's called Flying Cars and it is a really neat book.

Glass, Andrew. Flying Cars: The True Story. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, August, 2015. Grades 4-7.

Glass presents the captivating and eccentric history of flying cars and their rival inventors in a digestible way for children, using carefully selected photographs, drawing plans, and newspaper clippings paired with short biographies on the curious inventors who were determined to make flying cars a reality.  Flying Cars introduces numerous early flight vehicles to readers, such as the Albatross of 1868, and shares facts about the inventors’ amusing misadventures and occasional successes in first flight. Readers learn comical facts like Les Bris’s wheels-to-wings adventure was concluded when the Albatross “…was demolished during a disastrous landing that also broke the inventor’s leg.”  (pg 4) The most prominent feature of this nonfiction title is the numerous black and white photographs of peculiar flying cars such as the Vuia, the Autoplane (also known as An Aerial Limousine), the Felix Longobardi, and Autigiro, to name a few.  Glass shares the rich history of these 19th century retro-futuristic flying vehicles in a descriptive manner using fine details, like the Curtiss Autoplane of 1917 flew “…two passengers relaxed in the comfort of its posh leather-lined, velvet-curtained compartment” at a steady 65 miles an hour (pg 23). Glass also introduces other stimulating facts about these odd flying cars by providing actual newspaper clippings, transporting young readers into the past. This nonfiction book also includes an Index, glossary, source notes, and bibliography, making this book a reliable resource for research.  The glossary is particularly helpful for young readers who may not be familiar with technical terms such as fuselage, monoplane, or rudder. Readers with internet access are also given the chance to see the real magic of these obscure cars come to life by browsing the YouTube videos listed at the end of this book. This quirky book is a fine supplement to units on inventors and inventions and would be particularly appealing to children who like their books to have a spirit of adventure. Ultimately, this well-written book perfectly balances historical photographs with factual information that is engaging and fun to read. 

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