Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Flyer Flew! The Invention of the Airplane

The Flyer Flew! The Invention of the Airplane

Lee Sullivan Hill
Illustrator:  Craig Orback 
For ages 5 to 8
Lerner, 2006   ISBN: 978-1575057583

Wilbur and Orville Wright loved machines. They also "liked challenges" and they found the problems associated with trying to create a flying machine to be intriguing. Why did gliders always seem to crash? Was there something that the builders were doing wrong which the brothers could correct?

The brothers began their quest to build a working flying machine by learning all they could about flight and the properties of flight. One by one they overcame the problems of pitching, and rolling.

Next the brothers began to build a series of gliders and ended up with a glider which was big enough to carry a passenger. The brothers flew but they wanted to have better control over their creation and they wanted to be able to get up higher into the air.

More problems kept arising and the brothers had to work hard to find solutions to the problems. Why was there so little lift? Why did a tail make the glider crash? And most interesting of all, could they find a way to attach an engine to their gilder so that the machine could fly under its own power?

Young readers will be intrigued to discover that inventing the first powered flying machine was not an easy process. It took the brothers many years before they were successful and there were many failures. They did not give up however. Even when they crashed their machines they kept on trying and their dogged determination did, in the end, pay off. Readers who have been discouraged in their own endeavors might find this story encouraging and inspirational. After all, even clever Orville and Wilbur Wright had their bad days.

This is one of the titles in the "On my Own Science" series.