THE WRIGHT BROTHERS by Russell Freedman
Kirkus Star


How They Invented the Airplane
Age Range: 9 & up
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Using illuminating facts and incidents to place the story of this monumental achievement in the history of aeronautics and in the brothers' personal lives, Freedman focuses on the events that led to the first successful flight and on the Wrights' subsequent improvements on their invention. Diagrams and lucid explanations of the principles of flying make the years of tinkering, experimenting, reasoning, and problem-solving even more fascinating. Though Freedman doesn't characterize Wilbur and Orville in depth, he does provide telling glimpses of the two unmarried brothers devoting themselves to working enthusiastically and amiably together ("They tinkered and fussed and muttered to themselves from dawn to dusk," reported one observer, "...At no time did I ever hear either of them render a hasty or ill-considered answer..."). In Freedman's deceptively relaxed narrative, the facts themselves are disarming: e.g., the local postmaster helped to haul the planes back uphill, and the fire brigade came regularly to stand by. The brothers' own excellent photos, reproduced in a generous size, make an outstanding contribution to both format and authenticity; they're well supplemented with appropriate additional photos. Like Lincoln (Newbery Medal, 1988), this is familiar but retold in a manner so fresh and immediate that reading it is like discovering the material for the first time. (Nonfiction. 9+)

Pub Date: June 15th, 1991
ISBN: 0-8234-0875-2
Page count: 129pp
Publisher: Holiday House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1991


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