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

Friday 2 August 2019

Review: Born to Fly

Born to Fly is the story of a courageous young boy who dared to dream to fly.

Harry Butler was born in 1889. He was a farm boy with his head in the clouds. He tried to be what his family wanted him to be, but he couldn’t stop dreaming of the sky and the machines that could navigate them.

He studied hard, and he achieved his dream, flying for the Royal Flying Corps. But...

Harry wanted to bring the delights of flight to Australia. When he returned from the war, he decided to fly home to his farm. 

Word spread of his journey, and people gathered to watch and welcome Harry Butler home. He became a famous and familiar Australian icon, delivering mail by air and introducing many Australians to their first flight experience. 

This is a magnificent non-fiction picture book filled with action, adventure and the real-life story of an Australian hero. But it isn’t just a story laid out in facts. The story is beautiful, lyrical — filled with whimsy and spark. 

The distant murmur of an engine rippled across the paddock. A speck of red appeared through wisps of cloud.

This is writing that pulls at heart-strings and souls. It’s so lovely to read, especially out loud and to a crowd, going slowly and savouring the beautiful language.

And with a message to kids that anything is possible, no matter your starting point, it’s an important story for kids to hear. 

Teamed with stunning illustrations by Timothy Ide, the book is a visual delight. Detailed and engaging, the book calls for slow exploration so the details can be savoured and appreciated. 

The back of the book includes a detailed timeline of Harry’s life and there are photos and a detailed author’s note to accompany it, so kids can find out more and additional google searches can be guided — so brilliant for curious kids or classrooms studying the book.

I loved reading this book, and I think it will do exactly what author Beverley McWilliams says of Harry Butler in her Author’s Note:

…anything is possible if you believe in yourself and follow your dreams.

Title: Born to Fly
Author: Beverley McWilliams
Illustrator: Timothy Ide
Publisher: Midnight Sun, $24.99
Publication Date: 1 August 2019
Format: Hard Cover
ISBN: 9781925227567
For ages: 3-8
Type: Picture Book, Junior Non-Fiction