I Am Amelia Earhart

Brad Meltzer, illus. by Christopher Eliopoulos. Dial, $12.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8037-4082-2
Thriller writer Meltzer, who also hosts the history-themed TV show Decoded, introduces groundbreaking historical figures in the Ordinary People Change the World series, which launches with this title and I Am Abraham Lincoln (a third book, I Am Rosa Parks, is scheduled for summer 2014). Beyond the underlying message that average people are capable of greatness, the conceit on which the series turns is that each famous protagonist is pictured as a child, even at the peak of his or her adult accomplishments and fame. Eliopoulos draws Earhart as an eager, try-anything kind of girl whose oversize head, stumpy limbs, and expressive reactions strongly evoke the work of Charles Schulz and Bill Watterson. Early scenes show Earhart getting her first taste of flight via a homemade roller coaster (“That was awesome!” shouts Amelia after her “un-ladylike” crash landing), before the book moves on to her record-setting feats of aviation. Anachronisms are embraced wholeheartedly, and moments of humor balance out the plainly stated message: “Whatever your dream is, chase it.” Archival photos wrap up this entertaining and inspiring primer, though source notes are absent. Ages 5–8. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/04/2013
Release date: 01/14/2014
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