The Wondrous Whirligig: The Wright Brothers' First Flying Machine

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9780823417179: The Wondrous Whirligig: The Wright Brothers' First Flying Machine

Inspired by a model helicopter and encouraged by their parents and sister, young Orville and Wilbur Wright attempt to build a life-size helicopter from scrap.

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About the Author:

Andrew Glass has created many tall tales about real larger-than-life figures from American history, including "Mountain Men: True Grit and Tall Tales"; "Folks Call Me Appleseed John"; and "The Sweetwater Run: The Story of Buffalo Bill Cody" and the "Pony Express". He is the illustrator of the much-loved Soap! Soap! Don't forget the Soap: An Appalachian Tale by Tom Birdseye and The Erie Canal Pirates by Eric A . Kimmel. Mr. Glass lives in New York City.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 2-3-A good idea gone awry. With so much documented information about the Wright brothers available, it is odd that Glass would choose to posit his story as a type of tall tale told with hyperbole; fictionalized dialogue; and capricious, almost caricatured, illustrations. Although the Wrights could poke fun at themselves and even be the brunt of others' jokes, they do not need to be made fun of: "Yessireebob-. we'll just fit this ramp over that old teeter-totter and bounce your wondrous whatchamacallit right into the sky," say older siblings Loren and Reuch. In reality, Orville and Wilbur's brothers were proud of the younger boys' accomplishments, as was the whole family. The language credited to them is misleading. Their father, Milton Wright, was a bishop in the United Brethren Church, and, although it might not have been a major sect at the time, he was more than a "traveling preacher." Their mother (Glass gets this right in his author's note) encouraged their projects and was quite inventive in her own right. Glass drops the ball, or the thingamajig, or the contraption, or the "whirligig," in this attempt at a lighthearted account. He tries to relate the inventors' childhood attempts to construct a flying machine inspired by their father's gift of a French flying toy, a h‚licoptŠre, a "bat." Instead, he takes more than a few liberties and compromises the intelligence of the Wrights and of readers.
Harriett Fargnoli, Great Neck Library, NY
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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