The key word to describe this book is in the subtitle: “The Ultimate Book of Flight.” This compendium of flight facts and fun covers the history of early planes, copters, rockets, and even how to make a paper airplane.
However, these facts are not arranged in the customary encyclopedic format. The witty captions serve as chapter headings: “Flying in a Milk Bottle” explores polar aviation, for instance. The 120 entries, most appearing on a densely typeset double-page spread but a few extending over more pages, focus on pilots’ interactions with flying machines and how they shaped world history. The variety of topics is mind-boggling. There are the expected biographical sketches of such people as the Wright brothers and Charles Lindbergh, but the wealth of coverage will produce facts about things readers hadn’t even begun to think about. A chapter called “Freight Dogs” covers the use of aircraft to carry cargo, and then there is the story of the man who invented the ejector seat. A few diagrams and infographics help to break the walls of words. A lot of information is packed into this hefty book, but the unusual format will unfortunately not make it useful for research, especially since there is no index.
For anybody with an interest in aviation, this will prove a fascinating resource for browsing. Wings up! (Nonfiction. 10 & up)