________________ CM . . . . Volume IX Number 17 . . . . April 25, 2003

cover The Story of Flight: The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

Judith E. Rinard.
Toronto, ON: Firefly Books, 2002.
64 pp., pbk. & cl., $8.95 (pbk.), $16.95 (cl.).
ISBN 1-55297-694-7 (pbk.), ISBN 1-55297-642-4 (cl.).

Subject Headings:
National Air and Space Museum-Juvenile literature.
Aeronautics-United States-History-Juvenile literature.
Astronautics-United States-History-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-6 / Ages 9-11.

Review by Pat Fay.

*** /4


Do you remember your first airplane trip and how exciting it was to take off and fly over the clouds? Today, Boeing 747 and 777 jumbo jets carry 400 passengers on long non-stop flights over the ocean. People enjoy meals, nap, or watch movies. In just hours they are whisked to their destinations. Yet the first airliner in 1914 was a tiny plane that carried one passenger. It flew between Tampa and St. Petersburg, Florida.

The collection of The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum is the basis for this book by Judith E. Rinard. The museum opened in 1976, and its displays trace the history of flight from hot air balloons to spacecraft.

internal art

     The Story of Flight provides a quick overview of the history of flight and contains brief descriptions of all types of flying machines such as blimps, gliders, helicopters, fighter planes, jets and rockets. Additionally, within its 64 pages, it manages to tell the story of the dream of flying and the inventors and pilots who turned the dream into reality. Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, Chuck Yeager, Harriet Quimby, the Wright Brothers and other early aviators and inventors are mentioned, along with the many uses to which flying machines have been put over the years: sport, battle, mail delivery, travel, space travel, entertainment and exploration.

     Illustrated with more than 150 photographs and drawings, the book is visually appealing. Each of the topics, such as Women of Flight, Aerial Acrobats and Man on the Moon, is presented in a two-page spread with text and several illustrations. All the illustrations have captions that provide more information. The Table of Contents and Index make it easy to locate information on a particular topic.

     Readers looking for Canadian facts will be disappointed (the only mention of Canadian contributions to aerospace is the CanadArm space arm), but, overall, the book provides enough information for its intended audience.


Pat Fay is a teacher-librarian at Beaumont School in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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