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Ruth Law Thrills a Nation
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About the Author

Don Brown is the award-winning author and illustrator of many picture book biographies. He has been widely praised for his resonant storytelling and his delicate watercolor paintings that evoke the excitement, humor, pain, and joy of lives lived with passion. School Library Journal has called him "a current pacesetter who has put the finishing touches on the standards for storyographies." He lives in New York with his family.

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K-Gr 3-This picture-book presentation of the exploits of a little-known figure in aviation history introduces a new heroine to young adventure fans. Brown's enthusiasm for and knowledge of his subject are clearly evident, and he includes several fascinating details in his brief account of Law's record-breaking feat of flying nonstop from Chicago to New York (590 miles). He makes oblique reference to the strictures on women's behavior at the time (``In 1916, a polite lady always wore a skirt''), but youngsters may need additional historical background to truly understand the enormity of Law's achievement. His scratchy cartoon-style illustrations with lovely watercolor washes are somewhat reminiscent of Tony Ross's work and convey both witty humor and poignant determination. While this early aviatrix may not be as well known as Amelia Earhart and others, her story will be enjoyed by primary-grade readers and provide them with an intriguing glimpse at a bygone era.-Lisa Dennis, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

"This picture-book presentation of the exploits of a little-known figure in aviation history introduces a new heroine to young adventure fans. Brown's enthusiasm for and knowledge of his subject are clearly evident, and he includes several fascinating details in his brief account of Law's record-breaking feat of flying nonstop from Chicago to New York . . . An intriguing glimpse at a bygone era." School Library Journal

Brown soars in his children's book debut with this true story of a little-known heroine. In 1916 Ruth Law set an American record by flying cross-country nonstop for 590 miles. She had hoped to pilot her small plane all the way from Chicago to New York City in a single day (she ended up spending the night in Binghamton), but hers was nevertheless a remarkable accomplishment--the extraordinary nature of which Brown recreates for his audience with a host of riveting details. To accustom herself to the cold weather (she flew an open-cockpit plane), Law spent the night before her flight in a tent on the roof of a Chicago hotel; she wore two woolen suits and two leather suits, but ``covered her bulky outfit with a skirt. In 1916, a polite lady always wore a skirt.'' She flew a tiny, old plane because the manufacturer refused to sell her a newer, bigger model (he ``did not believe a woman could fly a large plane''); to set her course, she relied on maps she had taped together and attached to her leg; forced to land in a field, she secured her plane overnight by tying it to a tree. As the author points out, the pilot who broke Law's record a year later was also a woman. Brown's full-page, pen-and-ink and watercolor pictures feature striking amalgams of variegated blue and purple hues; like the text they convey the drama of Law's feat. Ages 4-7. (Aug.)

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