Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Two Books for the Younger Readers

YOU ARE THE FIRST KID ON MARS, Patrick O’Brien, GP Putnam’s Sons, $16.99, ISBN: 9780399246340, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

This is a very beautifully illustrated volume that allows a young reader to inspire their imagination on how it would feel to take a trip to Mars. The illustrations take you from gazing at Mars in the night sky to taking the Space Elevator up to the Space Station and finally on the ship to Mars. After arriving on Mars, there is a look at how life may be spent in exploring the planet and looking for clues for life and the inventive machines that might be used to discover the secrets that may be hidden there.

O’Brien has done a solid job in a few well designed pages that will appeal to readers young and old. He has filled it with the current scientific theory and facts to help make this a learning experience as well as a fun volume to read.

CROMWELL DIXON’S SKY-CYCLE, John Abbott Nez, GP Putnam’s Sons, $16.99, ISBN: 9780399250415, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

In 1907, young Cromwell Dixon, a fourteen year old inventor, turned from his four-paddle boat and mechanical fish and started planning his first flying machine. He took his bicycle apart and went from there. With the help of his mother, he made a balloon and attached his framework and in August of 1907 he was able to take to the air in the skies above Columbus, Ohio. He managed to reach a height of 2500 feet and covered almost two miles. He went on to win a medal at the St. Louis Airship Carnival in 1907 and went on to be the first pilot to fly over the Rocky Mountains in and airplane.

The amazing part of this story is that it is all true, Nez has told a story that seems like imagination, and it was all imagined and brought into reality by a young inventor who is largely unknown today. It is well illustrated in a turn of the century style that makes it all the more interesting.

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