What It Is
The Fabulous Flying Machines of Alberto Santos-Dumont takes place in Paris in the early 1900s at the same time the Wright Brothers were making their mark on history in the US. Alberto loved to fly around Paris in his dirigible, a flying balloon that looks somewhat like a blimp. He had a dream that everyone would some day fly instead of drive. And, like a true inventor, Alberto was never satisfied. He wanted to make a vessel that would go farther and faster. Well, it took about three years, but he did it. Alberto transformed his balloon into a box with wings. This new flying machine was the early version of an airplane. Many inventors in Europe had tried unsuccessfully to get their own inventions off the ground, but Alberto triumphed where many had failed.
Why It’s Fun
History can be fun to learn, and the author presents Alberto’s story with humor and suspense. The illustrations are unique in that they evoke feelings of French impressionism, which also helps create an aura of the pre-aviation era.
Who It’s For
Both adults and children should enjoy this story and learn something new about the history of aviation. There’s also an underlying message about those that dare to be different. Alberto persevered when others doubted him. His determination and passion eventually led him to success and a discovery that helped change the world.
What To Be Aware Of
It’s longer than most picture books, making it most suitable for the elementary school years.