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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Alis the Aviator, written by Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail and illustrated by Kalpna Patel. Tundra, Penguin Random House. 2019. $21.99 ages 6 and up

"G is for Goose,
a swanky flying boat.

H is for hot air balloon,
up above it floats.

I is for Islander,
a well-known island hopper.

J is for Jet Ranger,
a useful type of chopper."

"The Alis in this book was inspired by a real pilot: Dr. Alis Kennedy. Alis has spent her life helping people and animals, going on adventures and pushing the limits."

Related to Louis Riel and a member of the RCAF for a short time, Alis flew planes without her pilot's license. That military experience led her to get her own private and commercial pilot's training and license. She is believed to be the first indigenous woman to do so. Her tireless work has earned her many awards:

"... but the one that means the most to her is the eagle feather.
The eagle feather is a symbol of strength, courage, wisdom,
honesty, power and freedom; an eagle feather acknowledges
a person's hard work and achievements. It is one of the highest
honors that can be awarded to indigenous people."

We learn this in the back matter for this book that includes Alis in archival photos, a note about her many accomplishments, an annotated list and thumbnail photo of each of the planes making up the alphabetical list.

The poetic text of the book itself allows readers to see the many types of planes that fly our skies. It is quite the journey for those interested in all things aviation. Each piece of aircraft is designed using cut paper collage, shown clearly on ever-changing and appropriate backgrounds.  The details in each of the bright spreads will encourage questions and conversation concerning the history depicted here. Alis is our guide throughout, and we are witness to her many different adventures. 

Both entertaining and inspiring, it is a book that we will be welcomed by everyone interested in flying machines.                                                                     

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