Night Flight: Amelia Earhart Crosses the Atlantic

Robert Burleigh, illus. by Wendell Minor, S&S/Wiseman, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4169-6733-0
A gripping narrative and dynamic art immediately pull readers into the story of Earhart's historic 1932 solo transatlantic flight. Urgent yet lyrical, Burleigh's (One Giant Leap) account opens with Earhart's takeoff: "It is here: the hour, the very minute. Go!" A clear sky darkens as a storm erupts and lightning "scribbles its zigzag warning across the sky: danger." Earhart must also contend with mechanical difficulties—a broken altimeter, a cracked exhaust pipe, a gas leak. The tension reaches a crescendo as ice on the wings causes Earhart to lose control of the plane: "Everything she has ever learned courses through her blood. Now or never. All or nothing." Minor's (The Last Train) gouache and watercolor paintings easily convey the journey's intense drama, balancing lifelike closeups of Earhart with images of her imperiled plane. Stunning skyscapes are suffused with shadow and light; a breathtaking spread reveals streaks of multicolored clouds at daybreak as "Splinters of sunlight stab down through cloud slits and brace themselves on the vault of the open sea." Hearts will be racing. Back matter includes notes on Earhart's life. Ages 4–8. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/20/2010
Release date: 02/01/2011
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