From the Wright Brothers to the Supersonic Jet
By: Jan Van Der Veken
Published: March 9, 2021
Publisher: Prestel Junior
Kids who love all things airplanes and aviation will be glued to this book for hours. Even though it’s made for kids, adults who love airplanes will love it too.
The book begins with a time-line of airplane history starting with the Wright Flyer in 1903 and up to the 2005 Airbus. The time-line also gives details on each plane’s maximum speed, weight, length, and wingspan. From the Wright Flyer only flying at 30 mph to the Rockwell Int Space Shuttle at 17,321 MPH, we have certainly come a long way in aviation history and science.
The book is split into sections including airplane design, atmosphere and weather, communication and navigation, and finally the future of flight. Each of the sections also spends a few pages focusing on specific airplanes.
In the design section, the author helps kids understand how airplanes actually get off the ground and fly whether they are using propellors, engines, and natural forces. The author uses a general color scheme of oranges, blues, and greens on the pages and the illustrations are well-drawn for a clear understanding of the illustrated and labeled parts of the airplanes.
One of the airplanes spotlighted was the Beechcraft Bonanza. It was the type of plane that crashed in a snowstorm here in Iowa on February 2, 1959, and killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper. This crash happened due to weather conditions and the pilot not being as experienced with instrument only flying. This example is featured in the atmosphere and weather section.
I think kids will like learning the pilot communication alphabet. Jean-Paul Vinay came up with this special alphabet in 1949 for the Civil Aviation Organization. When pilots need to spell something, they use this alphabet to avoid miscommunication between them and the air-traffic controllers or other pilots and it has been used worldwide since 1956.
Sierra, India, November, Charlie, Echo, Romeo, Echo, Lima, Oscar
Sierra, Tango, Alfa, Charlie, India, Echo
I found this book fascinating and I’m sure kids will too. The pages are thick and the book itself has the feel of a special, high-quality book. Middle-grade readers will be able to dive into the details, but younger kids will enjoy the pictures. If you have a future aviator in your life, this is a must-read for them.
Jan Van Der Veken has his own studio, Fabrica Grafica, where he creates illustrations in a retro-futuristic style. His work has been displayed in countless exhibitions, published in newspapers and magazines, and used on posters. His first monograph was published in 2013 by Gestalten in Germany, and in 2016 he was awarded the Culture Prize of his home city of Ghent.