Wilbur Wright Meets Lady Liberty

Holt/Christy Ottaviano. Mar. 2021. 40p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781627793681.
Gr 1-5–This narrative nonfiction book tells the story of September 29, 1909, when Wilbur Wright exhibited his technological marvel, a flying machine. Burleigh’s compelling narrative allows readers to feel the excitement of the crowd and Wright’s anxiety over the machine working properly and fears for his own safety. The sensory details that Burleigh adds lend a personal connection to the event. The beautiful gouache watercolors on double-page spreads allow readers to appreciate the scale of the plane and the Statue of Liberty as well as the skyline of the city and the boats in the New York harbor. Even the end papers of the book add to the story—the front end papers are a reproduction of a newspaper account of the event and the back are a map of the flight path. The author’s notes also provide some surprising information. One of the people in the crowd that day, shown in the book in sepia-toned pages and panels, was 10-year-old Juan Trippe, who was so inspired by the flight that he eventually became an aviator himself and went on to found Pan American Airways. Readers of all ages will enjoy this very well-told story.
VERDICT This is a must-have for any collection that has elementary school aged patrons. It would be an excellent book for teaching lessons on perseverance, inventions, American history, narrative nonfiction, or biographies.

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