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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Airplanes, written and edited by Caroline Stamps. DK, Tourmaline Editions Inc. 2013. $11.99 ages 9 and up

"For years, pilots struggled to control their planes when they got close to the speed of sound (750mph/1,196 kph). This fearsome sound "barrier", known as Mach 1, was crossed by the X-planes, an experimental series of aircraft built to break all previous records. The rocket-powered Bell X-1, flown by fighter pilot Charles "Chuck" Yeager, was the first plane to break the sound barrier."

Now, here's the second, and equally awesome, book from the Eye Wonder series that I want to tell you about today. As DK does so well, it is a book that will inspire wonder in young children who long to know more about flying and the amazing machines that make it possible. The photos are exceptional and offer visual images that make all understanding clearer.

It begins with the dreams of those who imagined a very different world than the one they were living in:

"Sketches show that Italian artist and scientist Leonardo da Vinci had put some thought into ways that people might fly. His notebooks contain a series of drawings for machines called ornithopters that had flapping wings."

From dreams to gliders, to first flights, biplanes and supersonic jets, we see the development of these machines and get a glimpse at what might still be ahead for us. Readers are first class passengers for an explanation of how flying works and how it has changed the way we do things in our world today.

If you have read other DK publications, you know that children who share this book will have eyes opened in wonder at the marvels of flight, and the progress shown since the Wright Brothers made their first powered flight, using lift, power and control in December 1903. Scientists have not looked back since then, and continue to power us forward. Just last week, the names of those people who have been chosen to make the first flight to Mars were released! Did you ever think that would happen?

As was done in  Eye Wonder Human Body, there are activities to bring us to the end, and a most informative glossary. If I have piqued your interest today, you might look for others in the series:
Rainforest, Mammals, Volcanoes, Whales and Dolphins, Explorer, Reptiles, Dinosaurs, Pyramid, Forest, Big Cats and Shark to name some of them! Quite the library, don't you think?

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