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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Night Flight : Amelia Earhart Crosses the Atlantic - Robert Burleigh

Released February 2011

Reviewed by Bob Walch

Exquisite art work accompanies this account of Amelia Earhart’s 1932 solo flight across the Atlantic. The first woman to achieve the feat, Earhart would set many aviation records before she disappeared in 1937 on a planned flight around the world.

Robert Burleigh’s evocative prose captures the drama of that 14 hour and 50 minute flight from Harbour Grace, Newfoundland, to a pasture north of Derry, North Ireland.

“The red Vega rolls down the runway. Faster, then faster. The plane swoops like a swallow over dark puddles and patches of tundra. The shore gleams in the waning light…Amelia Earhart lives for this moment: to follow the wide horizon that never ends.”

On that lonely journey across the ocean the aviatrix has to deal with stormy weather, a broken altimeter, and icing that nearly brings her plane down. Suffering from exhaustion and with her eyes watering from leaking gas fumes, the brave pilot finally sees her destination.

“A coastline emerges, festered with boulders and crags…An unseen clock is ticking. She must hurry, racing a time bomb of exhaust flames and rising fumes. The countryside spreads out like a green fan beneath her. It is Ireland.”

Wendell Minor’s beautiful illustrations combined with Burleigh’s sparse narrative bring this historic flight to life. Not only will this story capture the young reader’s imagination but hopefully it will make the youngster want to learn more about this remarkable woman.

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