If only it took a week to travel between Australian and England instead of three months. If only the ship voyage wasn’t so dangerous. If we didn’t live at the end of the world in this outpost – this Colony of Australia. It’s not I who says this but my fellow Sydneysiders who wish for one last sight of England before they die. As their doctor, I can diagnose illnesses perform surgery and prescribe medication but what can I do for those who are homesick?
There’s just one thing: I can invent a flying ship. And I’ve done it!
Or at least, I’ve drawn the pictures. All that’s left to do is build it and watch it fly.
The dream of flying has motivated many thinkers and inventors across many years. In the Age of Machines, eyes turned to the sky for a way to travel through the air. There were many naysayers who considered flight a ridiculous and foolish notion, but the dreamers persisted, trying and failing, trying again. Little by little, they overcame the barriers to flight. Meet some of the Australian pioneers and the thinking that contributed to the advent of aviation. ‘Did you know?’ boxes offer some of the science of flying. Illustrations, photos and fact boxes intersperse the biographical text.
Successful flight was not an overnight achievement, nor the achievement of a single individual. Around the world, across many years, many thinkers and doers were moving closer and closer, learning from the successes and failures of others. ‘Amazing Australians in their Flying Machines’ showcases Australians who contributed along the way. Readers will discover the history, the people, the science and the politics of flying, told from a particularly Australian viewpoint. Recommended for budding pilots, engineers, historians and mid-primary readers.
Amazing Australians in their Flying Machines, Prue and Kerry Mason ill Tom Jellett
Walker Books Australia 2017
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller
The German planes patrolled in hunting squads. They flew fast fighting craft streaking across the sky in tight formation. The greatest of them was the Red Baron, the deadliest ace on the Front. He’d shot down twenty-one of our planes in a single month. And now we were right in his firing line.
Ace (Alex) has always been fascinated by planes, so the opportunity to work on them for the army is enough to get him to sign up for the army, even though his parents and family want him to stay home, and are against the war. Back home, his sister Maggie, is leaving school and entering the workforce, finding her voice as a young woman as she misses her brother.
1917 is the fourth title in Scholastic’s Australia’s Great War series. Set in England and the Western Front as well as home in Melbourne, the story offers one man’s experiences of the first world war, as well as tracing the opposition to the war which grew as it progressed, including the role of women including Vida Goldstein.
Both a moving, absorbing story and a useful first person insight into Australia’s involvement in World War 1.
Australia’s Great War: 1917, by Kelly Gardiner
A red plane, a blue plane and a yellow plane are planning a display. Together and separately they perform their tricks. Up and down, even swapping planes, with a ‘Chucka chucka chucka, vroom vroom vroom! Zing zing zow, zoom zoom zoom!
A red plane, a blue plane and a yellow plane are planning a display. Together and separately they perform their tricks. Up and down, even swapping planes, with a ‘Chucka chucka chucka, vroom vroom vroom! Zing zing zow, zoom zoom zoom! When it looks like disaster has struck, the aerobatic team become a rescue team, bringing everyone safely into land. Illustrations are in bright, primary colours set on solid colour pages.
Imaginative play is so important for children, and Red Plane to the Rescue is a wonderful example of the heights and drama that can be achieved in play. Young children will follow the movement of the planes as the story is being read, and it won’t be long before they’re joining in the refrain. Then they’ll be flying their own planes, toy or imaginary. Teachers will have children zooming their planes all around the place. Great fun for pre- and early school-age children.
Red Plane to the Rescue, Melissa Firth & Cheryl Orsini
Scholastic Press 2011
Other titles by this duo: Frederik Goes Bananas
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
This title is available from good bookstores or online from RFishponde.