AIRBORNE by Mary Collins
Kirkus Star


A Photobiography of Wilbur and Orville Wright
Age Range: 10 & up
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In a field becoming crowded with stories of the Wright Brothers, a more technical one takes its place. Following on the heels, or rather the tailwind, of National Geographic’s previously well-executed photobiography series, most recently Thomas Edison (Inventing the Future, 2002), this latest entry is equally excellent, if not exceptional. The impressive book design with 60 duotone archival photos, many tinted in metallic blue, telescopes Wilbur and Orville’s ingenuity, determination, and vision. A foreword provides context, informing the reader that the brothers built a series of designs, perfected their invention, and became the world’s first aeronautical engineers. Their flight marked the beginning of a new era in transportation, one that would change the world and the face of the future. The readable text in nice-sized type incorporates quotes from people of the times and relates their efforts to the tenor of the times. Definitions of terms and simple diagrams clarify technical explanations, making them understandable without losing the human element. A concise chronology, afterword, resources list, and index further document the meticulous research. A pleasure to hold and read while imparting the significance of the work of these two brothers who ran a bicycle shop, this is outstanding nonfiction that genuinely soars. (Nonfiction. 10+)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-7922-6957-8
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: National Geographic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2003