Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Wright Brothers: A Flying Start

The Wright Brothers: A Flying Start

Elizabeth MacLeod
Nonfiction  Series
For ages 8 to 12
Kids Can Press, 2002   ISBN: 978-1550749335

It is hard to believe today that the first powered and manned flight only lasted twelve seconds and that the flying machine that made that flight only went 120 feet. Though the time and distance were short, the achievement would have a lasting effect on human history forever afterwards.

The two men who build this very first working flying machine, Orville and Wilbur Wright, did so because it had never been done before. They had to work for many years and dedicate many hours to their quest. They also had to overcome all kinds of technical difficulties as they worked on their kites and flying machines.

They began by working with large kites, trying to overcome the problems associated with endeavoring to keep a man-made creation in the air. They observed birds and did their best to solve the problems they encountered by trying to emulate what they saw birds doing with their wings. In the end their studies paid off and on December 17th, 1903 Orville became the first person to fly in a flying machine.

This wonderful biography not only tells the story of these two men in words, but it also shows us what they were like and what their world was like through annotated period photographs, maps, diagrams and more. The author also gives the reader a fascinating mini description of the history of flight discussing the developments that had been made in the years preceding those when the brothers made their historic flight. In addition the author provides her readers with plenty of background information about the mechanics of flight so the reader is able to follow the progress that the brothers made in their experiments. With a scrapbook like format to break up the text, this book is a perfect volume for the reader who is put off when he or she sees large sections of uninterrupted text.