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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Daredevil: The Daring Life of Betty Skelton, by Meghan McCarthy. A Paula Wiseman Book, Simon & Schuster. 2013. $19.99 ages 6 and up

"As Betty grew bigger,
so did her dreams.
When most kids turn
sixteen, they get a license
to drive a car.
Betty got one to fly a
She even made the

Who was Betty Skelton? I did not know. Once again, that is what I find so compelling about the spate of exceptional biography being written (and published) for young readers today.

Now, I know another hero. Born in 1926 with a compelling 'need for speed', Betty Skelton was consumed by flight. When she did her solo flight on her 16th birthday, she had already spent four years in the cockpit of an airplane. She hadn't told anyone for fear she would be in big trouble (and her father, too).

Despite her success and desire, she could not apply for a commercial pilot's license. She was a woman, and women could not fly commercially at that time. The navy was not an option; so, Betty became a stunt pilot:

"She soon became famous for the inverted ribbon cut. Betty would swoop toward the ground while upside down and cut a ribbon with her propeller. Amazing!"

When flying lost its appeal in the early 1950s, it didn't take long for Betty to find another passion...race car driving! She faced much danger and many obstacles. With records being broken in the sky and at the racetrack, Betty turned to the water...becoming the first female boat jumper. Was there anything left to try?

You might be surprised at the answer if, like me, you don't know Betty's story.

Engaging and filled with personal quotes that make it feel very personal, readers are sure to be inspired by Betty's personality and tenacity. She is an inspiration to all who follow in her footsteps.
Through the engaging text and acrylic cartoon-like artwork, you will come to know a woman of admirable character. Add to that the fun facts, Betty quotes, a time line and a list of books for further reference, and you have a book that will please and perhaps even astonish its readers.

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