“'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrench

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'”
-- from
The Wind in the Willows

Monday, August 29, 2011

Night Flight Picture book

Night Flight: Amelia Earhart Crosses the Atlantic 
By Robert Burleigh  illustrated by Wendell Minor
Available now  Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books Ages 4 - 8

An American Library Association Notable Children's Book Nominee
Story:  Award-winning author Robert Burleigh has captured Amelia Earhart's first solo flight across the Atlantic in 1932. She was only the second person to do this – and the first woman. Rich in detail, feeling and incident this is nonfiction with edge and action, a you-are-there experience made more dramatic and real by Wendell Minor's vivid paintings.
Story behind the story:  Wendell Minor -- who's worked on 50 children's books! -- talks about NIGHT FLIGHT, about Amelia Earheart as "an iconic figure" who "represents, for young women, anything that a man could do", his research (particularly with the Air & Space Museum), and much more... take a peek at this video:

"A gripping narrative and dynamic art immediately pull readers into the story of Earhart's historic 1932 solo transatlantic flight. Urgent yet lyrical, Burleigh's (One Giant Leap) account opens with Earhart's takeoff: "It is here: the hour, the very minute. Go!" .... Minor's (The Last Train) gouache and watercolor paintings easily convey the journey's intense drama, balancing lifelike closeups of Earhart with images of her imperiled plane. Stunning skyscapes are suffused with shadow and light; a breathtaking spread reveals streaks of multicolored clouds at daybreak as "Splinters of sunlight stab down through cloud slits and brace themselves on the vault of the open sea." Hearts will be racing. Back matter includes notes on Earhart's life. 

"A worthy new addition to the recent spate of books about the famous aviatrix, Burleigh's story concentrates on Earhart's 1932 solo flight from Newfoundland to Ireland, placing compelling poeticemphasis on her single-hearted struggle. "Why? Because 'women must try to do things as men have tried,'" writes Burleigh, quoting Earhart.... Minor's illustrations maintain tension by alternating between cockpit close-ups and wide views of the plane crossing the foreboding ocean. Predominant reds and blues convey the pure excitement of the nail-biting journey.Finally, Minor's endpapers, with a well-drawn map and mechanical illustration of the plane Earhart called the"little red bus," also work to inspire further learning."

Order your reviewer's copy now.


janew said...

Long before the first word of the text, Burleigh and Minor hook their readers with the front jacket flap where we read, “I could not see. I carried on” (A.E.) and staccato text that sets the tension, “Darkness. Courage. Determination. History.” Next, in tightly wound sentences Burleigh introduces Earhart and her 1932 flight and concluding with a question to the readers: “Will she survive?” Endpapers include a factual drawing of the Vega (which includes two different exhausts. What detail and attention to your readers, Mr. Minor!) as well as its dimensions, and a timeline and the route Earhart took. Stunning. The verso of the title page includes a riveting quote and Earhart’s signature. Minor also includes an Acknowledgement, which is superimposed on the verso of the next double page spread showing the Vega upon liftoff, detailing his process for creating factual illustrations. Dedications (recto) are interesting and informative, giving the reader insight into Burleigh and Minor. The reader turns the page and is immediately face to face with Earhart as she stares from the Vega’s cockpit. Opposite, Burleigh begins the chronicle of her story—keeping the tension ratcheted with two-sentence stanzas until its successful conclusion. Minor situates the reader in varying positions in relation to the Vega. The reader follows the Vega, sits in the cockpit with Earhart, and looks inside to see Earhart’s emotions as the flight begins to take a frantic turn. Last, the reader is there to witness her landing. The back matter includes an Afterward, Technical Notes, a Bibliography, Internet Resources, and Things Amelia Said. Finally, we view the endpapers, with the same illustrations as the front. This is a must have book for these reasons and many, many more. If there were one adjustment I could make it would be to detail the sources of the Things Amelia Said. In the end, this is a small matter and I imagine one sacrificed for space and page length. If this book does not win a major award, I will be shocked. It is brilliant. 5++++

Lemon the Duck said...

Readers of "Night Flight" will feel as if they're soaring with Amelia Earhart through her journey, and imagine the beauty and challenges she must have faced as she crossed the Atlantic Ocean.
The author's wonderful words make the reader feel like s/he's right in the cockpit with Amelia. The illustrator's paintings (most in two page spreads) envelope the reader her journey.
At first readers experience the wonder of flight. The Vega soars into "wisps of shimmering clouds". Minds will soar with Amelia as she attempts one of her many "first things".
Further into the flight, the ocean becomes "dark and seething," and there are more dangers to be met. Like an emotional roller coaster, readers will hold their breath as she conquers each challenge. Finally Earhart steers the Vega down, then "lands with a jolt" in a farmer's pasture.
Earhart's story is emotional and exciting. Other wonderful things included in this title include an illustrated map showing Amelia's route, an "Afterword" bio, quotes from this amazing trailblazer, a Bibliography, a list of internet resources, and a technical note. In addition, Buzz Aldrin (Apollo 11 astronaut and author) and Eileen Collins (astronaut and NASA's first female shuttle pilot and commander) give a commentary about how Amelia Earhart affected their life.
This title will inspire young and old, both female and male. This picture book is a brilliant tribute to this amazing woman.
I rate this book a 5 plus!
Laura Backman
Hathaway School

SunshineFamily said...

I love finding books about strong women in history and I wish there were more like this one. The text and illustrations are exciting and appeal to both genders. I love the cover illustration especially. I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover but this one just calls out to you to be read. I think the perspective of the book keeps readers interested and the realistic illustrations help to set the scene even more. I agree with reviewers janew and Lemon the Duck that the readers are taken on the journey with Amelia Earheart.
The book offers an example to students of creating tension and suspense through illustrations and text. 5/5

Julia Pitau said...

My friend received Night Flight and I asked if I could borrow it. What a wonderful story about Amelia Earhart. I kept thinking, in the back of my head, that this story was going to be about her last flight. So I was pleasantly surprised to find it was about her first flight instead. Considering the audience it is aimed for, I am grateful. I like the fact that the author did include other flight information in the back of the story. But I think the best thing of all was when I received my own copy about two days later :^D

Picnic Rating: 5
Denair Charter Academy

Anonymous said...

Rating: 4/5

This was a lovely book detailing Amelia Earhart's flight over the Atlantic. The text flowed smoothly and the beautiful illustrations followed the story.

I liked the afterword, notes, bibliography and other additional material that was included. The front and back cover insets-of Amelia's plane was also a nice touch.

Heather Hart
Branch Librarian
Newport Beach Public Library

Carol said...

Jane gave a beautiful review on Night Flight and I couldn't agree more with her comment that "long before the first word of the text, Burleigh and Minor hook their readers with the front jacket flap." The thoughtfully chosen end papers and their support for activating schema give this picture book integrity too.

I appreciate how this book shares the success of Earhart, rather than focus on the flight that ended in tragedy. It left me feeling like Earhart lived the life she was destined to have, and that she wouldn't change her mind about any of her decisions.

This is a beautiful picture book that I will be adding to the book shelf for my 4th and 5th graders. The illustrations, pacing, and features (like the time line) give this an authentic and important feel.


Anonymous said...

Fabulous picture book tribute to Amerial Earhart with a bonus for older readers: an afterword, technical notes, internet resources and Amelia's quotes. A keeper.

M. Battista said...

Reading this book was a special treat. The words were rich and beautiful and I was swept away in the story. The illustrations were the perfect match to the text. We already have many Earhart books so I hesitated to request this one. I am so glad I did and I am so grateful we have this as a part of our collection.

Picnic Rating: 5

Denair Elementary School
Denair, CA

Heather Hill said...

"Night Flight" by Robert Burleigh uses two-sentence stanzas to tell the story of Amelia Earhart's first transatlantic solo flight and it reads like poetry. The paintings by Wendell Minor add to the poetic words to make a special story that teachers, librarians, lovers of Amelia Earhart, and lovers of beautiful books will want to share and own. The resources at the end of the book would make this a wonderful starting point read aloud before students embarked on their own discovery of Amelia Earhart. This book is a 5 out of 5.

Heather Hill,Reading Specialist
Enterprise Elementary
Woodbridge, VA