Cars that fly? Only in stories like Harry Potter or Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or fantasy films, right? Nope, flying cars have been in existence since the beginning of the 1900s. Who knew?
Author-illustrator Glass departs from the world of picture books (The Wondrous Whirligig, 2003, etc.) to apply his hand to long-form nonfiction. And what a high-flying job he has done. He devotes a chapter to each of 14 visionary men who believed they could prove that cars and planes could be fused into one flying machine. First was Gustave Whitehead, who designed a bird-shaped glider named the Condor in 1901; the last was Daniel Zuck, who predicted squadrons of commuters in Plane-Mobiles. The names of their machines were as imaginative as their inventions: Henry Ford’s Sky Flivver, Harold Pitcairn’s Autogiro, and Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion car are just a sampling. The fascinating details of the dangers and difficulties each man faced read smoothly and engagingly. Glass’ research is extensive and impeccable, and the archival black-and-white photos provide visual context. All in all, it’s a tremendous narrative-nonfiction debut for a creator who’s long been associated with the 32-page format.
Start your engines and get ready to take off for an amazing read. (author’s note, glossary, source notes, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 9-13)