The Books

The Glorious Flight

by Alice Provensen
Illustrated by Martin Provensen

One Potato Review

This is nominally a history of the aviator Louis Bleriot’s 1909 crossing of the English Channel, and at first it looks a little formal – Bleriot and his family sitting stiffly at the dinner table, then out for one of those excruciating Sunday drives where they are equal parts performers and spectators. Then – “clacketa clacketa clacketa” – overhead comes a zeppelin so immediately bewitching that Papa steers the automobile into a truck carrying pumpkins and cabbages. The crash is all slapstick, as are many of Bleriot’s preliminary attempts at a flying machine – “Alas! It flaps like a chicken. Never mind.” – though finally the triumph of Bleriot XI soars higher for all of the blundering. Like many triumphs probably. With a couple of charming syntactical oddities (“All is in readiness.”) along the way.

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