The Flying Machines of Alberto Santos-Dumont

This post is part of Nonfiction Monday 
hosted today by Great Kid Books
(pub. 9.1.2011)  32 pages 

A True Tale with A Cherry On Top

A uthor: Victoria Griffith
     and Illustrator:  Eva Montanari

C haracter: Alberto Santos-Dumont
O verview from the jacket flap: 

         "When the Wright Brothers were gliding in the air over Kitty Hawk, a charming Brazilian named Alberto Santos-Dumont was making his own mark on the history of flight. Alberto loved floating over the crowded streets of Paris in his personal flying machine called a dirigible... In the early 1900s, Alberto had the skies to himself. But he wanted to fly farther and faster than his dirigible could take him... After several years of hard work, Alberto was ready to try out his new flying machine, which had been transformed from a balloon to a box with wings! ... Beautifully illustrated and full of little-known facts about the history of aviation, this book will enlighten young readers about who really flew the first airplane!"
T antalizing taste: 

     "'I tell you,' said Alberto ... 'these machines will mean the end of all wars. Once people are able to fly to different countries, they will see how much we have in common. We will all be friends.'"

and something more:   I had never hear of Alberto Santos-Dumont, and I was fascinated by the back story of The Fabulous Flying Machines of Alberto Santos-DumontVictoria Griffith explains in her Author's Note that it began with "an unremarkable response to an unremarkable question."  Victoria had asked her daughter what she had learned in school one particular day, and her daughter had answered, "'We learned how the Wright Brothers invented the airplane.'"  Victoria explains that she "was unprepared for [her] Brazilian husband's reaction. 'That's ridiculous!' he exclaimed, horrified. 'Everyone knows that Alberto Santos-Dumont invented the airplane.'"  Victoria, a correspondent for fifteen years to the UK's Financial Times "was intrigued [and] decided to find out more and discovered that the claim to the invention remains controversial."  I'm so glad Victoria has shared Alberto's story and his contribution to history.


Myra Garces-Bacsal from GatheringBooks said...

I have read contrasting reviews of this same book, I should check it out for myself. I was also particularly taken by the title and the book cover. Thanks for sharing, Jeanne. :)

Tara said...

"Once people are able to fly to different countries, they will see how much we have in common. We will all be friends.'"
Would that that were true! But this sounds like a charming book. Thanks for sharing!

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Thanks Myra and Tara for your comments! Yes, it's a great title and Paris-esque illustrations, Myra. And, Tara, that's just what I thought -- he had such a noble belief. In the author's note, it explains that he was greatly saddened that during his lifetime the planes, for which he had such high hopes, were used in warfare.