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Flight: The Journey of Charles Lindbergh

Flight: The journey of Charles Lindbergh Burleigh, Robert. 1991. Flight: The journey of Charles Lindbergh. Ill. by Mike Wimmer. New York: Philomel Books. ISBN: 0399222723.

With a winning combination of staccato text and dramatic illustrations, Burleigh and Wimmer transport readers back to the days when flying was a daring adventure with many firsts still to be accomplished. This book offers a snapshot of just such a first as it tells of Charles Lindbergh's recordsetting transatlantic flight.

Burleigh's text is almost poetic as it uses rhythm to convey actions, moods, and thoughts of Lindbergh during this daring episode. For example, as Lindbergh lifts off from the field in New York, the reader gets a sense of his blur of thoughts and feeling of apprehension through these words, "A telephone wire stretches across the far end of the field. To touch this wire will plunge the plane to the ground. There is an extra fuel tank in front of the cockpit. Because of this, Lindbergh cannot see straight ahead. Will the Spirit of St. Louis, with its over 5,000 pounds, rise into the air? To keep the plane lighter, Lindbergh is leaving behind his radio and parachute. Will that be enough?" (Burleigh, unpaged) In her review for Horn Book Magazine, Flowers commented, "The use of the present tense keeps the reader in suspense from the moment the plane takes off until the moment Lindbergh sets the plane down in Paris thirty-three-and-a-half hours later." Burleigh's inclusion of details such as what he ate and beautiful quotes from his journal carried on  the flight add to the authenticity of his text. Burliegh is also careful to include many mentions of the time as the flight progresses, which add to the feeling of urgency as the reader realizes time is passing and fuel is being depleted.

Wimmer's vibrant illustrations grab the reader's attention from the first page and enhance Burleigh's text. Lindbergh's journey is shown from many different perspectives, such as a view from the perspective of a fishing boat, a look at Lindbergh's exhausted face as he struggles to stay awake through the night, and the view of the Eiffel Tower from the cockpit as Lindbergh makes his triumphant entrance into Paris.

This book is written in picture book format, and the illustrations cover all of each double page spread. The text is written in a serif font that stands out boldly against Wimmer's artwork. An introduction by Jean Fritz prefaces the text. Except for a short acknowledgement of Lindbergh's book, The Spirit of St. Louis, on the Cataloging-in-Publication page, there are no other access features such as a bibliography or glossary.

Flowers, Ann A. 1991. Flight: The journey of Charles Lindbergh (Book). Horn Book Magazine 67(6). In EBSCOHost (database online). Available from http://search.epnet.com/login.asp.  Accessed 30 March 2005.

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