Thursday, June 14, 2018

Lighter Than Air

Lighter Than Air: Sophie Blanchard, the First Woman Pilot. Matthew Clark Smith. Illustrated by Matt Tavares. 2017. Candlewick Press. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: It was November 1783. For months France had buzzed about the brothers Montgolfier and their mad dreams of floating bags in the sky. Now the moment had arrived.

Premise/plot: Lighter Than Air is a picture book biography of Sophie Blanchard. She came of age at a time when hot air balloons were brand new, awe-inspiring, and a true wonder. She wasn't alone in marveling at this new wonder that allowed mankind to take to the air. Everyone was mad for it. But Sophie wasn't content to watch from the ground. NO! She wanted to fly herself. She married a balloonist and was soon joining him on flights. But even that wasn't quite enough. She soon began taking solo flights. Each flight an adventure with some amount of risk and thrill. Some were fascinated by her exploits; others not so much! But whether they were saying nice things or mean things--she was being talked about.

My thoughts: I enjoyed this biography. I'd never heard of Sophie Blanchard before. Though to be honest I'd never heard of ANY hot air balloonists before. I couldn't have told you the first thing about their invention or early pioneers. The book packs a good amount of information in the narrative and even more in their author's note. (Although the author's note adds sadness as well. Looking at it glass half full one could say she died doing what she loved best.)

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
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I am not a fan of:

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  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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