'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 11 July 2017

Review: Amazing Australians in their Flying Machines

Early Australian aviation in all its glory is portrayed in Amazing Australians in Their Flying Machines. Showcased are the achievements of ten Australians beginning with William Bland, in1851. Featured are Lawrence Hargrave, George Taylor, Richard Williams, Ross Macpherson Smith, Bert Hinkler, Norman Brearley, John Flynn, Nancy Bird and Charles Kingsford Smith, 1935.

What all the men had in common was the dream to build flying machines, mainly for defence because Australia was so far from England. Nancy just wanted to fly.

A portrait of each aviator is introduced, with their story told from a first person point of view. Their aircraft is pictured below. The opposite page reveals a short historical account of the aviator’s life and death. There are many personal details included and I loved the caricatures that are added. These lightened the mood of the book.

From the second entry with Lawrence Hargrave, ‘3 Amazing Facts about’ that particular aviator are boxed. ‘Did You Know?’ informs within a strip of more facts on personal achievements and traits, points on aircraft, flying and historical happenings.

At the end is a section on Australian Aviation Today, followed by the Authors’ Note where Prue and Kerry Mason share what inspired them to write the book.

This is not a dull, history book. It has humour, well-considered layouts, original photos and stacks of history that includes the Royal Flying Doctor’s Service, for young readers to learn and enjoy.  The extensive bibliography for further reference is accompanied by an alphabetized Index. This publication is an invaluable addition to any bookcase, especially so for school libraries.

The fantastic internal illustrations compete with the ones on the sky blue cover, which depicts all the aviators standing on the wings of a Vimy biplane, watching the clouds go by. They appear to be enjoying themselves immensely!

Title: Amazing Australians in their Flying Machines
Author: Prue & Kerry Mason
Illustrator: Tom Jellett
Publisher: Walker Books, $24.99
Publication Date: April 2017
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781922244635
For ages: 9+
Type: Non Fiction