Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Fire in the Sky

Fire in the Sky

Candice F. Ransom
Illustrator:  Shelly O. Haas 
Historical Fiction
For ages 7 to 10
Lerner, 1997   ISBN: 978-1575050799

Stenny doesn’t like being the plump, marble-losing "chump" who is always having to find ways to get tough Buzzie Martinelli off his back. This time Stenny has really put his foot into it- he has told Buzzie that he Stenny Green, is going to be taken on a tour of the great airship Hindenburg when it arrives in Lakehurst airfield in a days time. He has told Buzzie that his brother Michael who works at the field is going to get a pass for him. The problem is that Michael has told Stenny that a tour just won’t be possible. Security around the airship is too tight and Stenny is going to have to wait for his tour- there will be no passes for visitors this time round.

Stenny is Hindenburg crazy, knowing all the facts and figures about the great airship. More than anything he wants to get a good look at the airship so he goes to the airfield and manages to slip in behind the fence. Now he can see the airship arrive from up close along with the reporters and camera men.

Then, suddenly and dreadfully the beautiful airship, as it begins its decent and as the mooring lines are pulled to bring it to earth, bursts into flame. Stenny watches with horror as screaming people jump out of the burning monster in the sky. He wants to run away but instead he decides to help the victims as best as he can..

The terrible experience of seeing the Hindenburg go up in flames helps Stenny to realize that the adventure that he has always craved for himself all too often has a downside. With heroism and great deeds often comes loss of life and suffering.

Against the backdrop of the fear over what the Nazi's are doing in Germany, this simple story about a real-life tragedy is touching and at the same time informative.