A pleasurable ride with aviatrix Gosnell on her leisurely summer odyssey, flying in to out-of-the-way airfields and seeing the US from a fresh perspective. The lure of the blue sky outside her office window in midtown Manhattan finally proved irresistible to Gosnell. Taking a three- month leave of absence from her reporter's job at Newsweek, she set out in her small, single-engine Luscombe Silvaire to hop-skip-and- jump to the West Coast and back. Gosnell had fallen in love with flying during a summer vacation in Kenya when she took a charter flight over the game-rich African plains, and she extended her vacation there in order to take flying lessons. Back home, she finished her flight training and bought her first airplane—``a weekend cabin that moved.'' On the cross-country trip described here—flying below 1500 feet whenever the weather and terrain permitted, stopping off at familiar and unfamiliar places, dropping in on friends, hiking and backpacking when the mood struck, exploring caves, spending the nights in her sleeping bag and as often as not under the wing of her beloved little plane—Gosnell saw America as few do: the ocean shores, the Mississippi, the Rockies, the Great Plains, and terrain both benign and terrifying. The characters she met were as interesting as the sights—among them, crop-dusters, tow-plane pilots, fire spotters, flight instructors, trading-post managers, cave specialists, and, of course, the FBOs (fixed-base operators: the term stands for both the small, private airfields and the dedicated folk who run them). A notable stop on the way back was at Columbus, Ohio, for a homecoming visit with her family. A satisfying companion to Laurence Gonzales's One Zero Charlie (1992). Like Gonzales, Gosnell is hopelessly in love with flying, and we are ensnared by her enthusiasm. (Photographs—not seen).

Pub Date: June 11, 1993

ISBN: 0-679-40025-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1993

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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