by J. Patrick Lewis
illustrated by Laszlo Kubinyi
Creative Editions, September 2010
review copy provided by the publisher
A history of flight, told in poems! Brilliant!
Lewis begins with Icarus, then treats us to three versions of the hot air balloon. He includes ideas that didn't work so well (Ornithopter and Multiplane) and others whose time was brief but brilliant (Zeppelin and Bell Rocket Belt). He ends with the Nighthawk and the Space Shuttle, but a canny reader will realize that with a history like this, it's likely that humans haven't run out of ideas for new ways to take to the sky.
Endnotes give a little more information about each of the airplanes/modes of flight, and a final timeline gives a tidbit of non-flight history for each of the years in which flight history was featured in a poem.
The poems are clever and snappy -- the Ornithopter got a double limerick and the Concorde's poem is shaped like the plane -- and this book is another great example of multi-genre writing, with its blend of history and poetry.