Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

My Brother’s Flying Machine: Wilbur, Orville, and Me

My Brother’s Flying Machine: Wilbur, Orville, and Me

Jane Yolen
Illustrator:  Jim Burke 
Historical Fiction Picture Book
For ages 4 to 7
Little Brown, 2003   ISBN: 978-0316971591

When Orville and Wilbur first start tinkering with flying things, their little sister Katherine was always by their sides watching what they are doing and learning from them. Later, when their mother died Katherine took over as the family housekeeper, making sure that her brothers had a pleasant home and good meals, and even running the bicycle shop when they were too busy with their pet project. She was also the one who gave them her unconditional support and encouragement. They needed it for the brothers were trying to build a real flying machine - one that would be large enough to carry a man through the air.

Through Katherine's eyes we watch the Wright brothers progress closer and closer to their goal. Jane Yolen seems to be able to get inside the head of her character and it is almost as if we can hear Katherine's voice speaking to us across the years. Here is a woman who truly deserves a great deal of credit for the successes of the men in her life.

Jim Burke's remarkable oil paintings beautifully capture the timelessness of those days and help take us back in time to an event which changed the history of mankind.