Flying Solo

How Ruth Elder Soared
into America's Heart

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Roaring Brook Press

(Macmillan Publishers)
(pub.7.23.2013) 32 pages

A True Tale with 
A Cherry On Top

A uthor: Julie Cummins
           and Illustrator: Malene R. Laugesen
haracter: Ruth Elder

O verview from the jacket flap: 

    "In 1927, women were supposed to stay at home, mostly in the kitchen, with their feet planted firmly on the ground. But one woman proved that she could do anything a man could do - even fly an airplane. Before Amelia Earhart made her name crossing the Atlantic Ocean, Ruth Elder set out to beat her to the record. She didn't make it, but she flew right into the spotlight and America's heart.
     This is the story of a remarkable woman who chased her dreams with grit and determination and whose appetite for adventure helped pave the way for generations of female flyers."

T antalizing taste: 

     "By nature, spunky Ruth wasn't easily cowed, but during the race she had a standoff with real cattle. On the second day, temperatures climbed to 120 degrees, causing extreme turbulence. The strong wind blew her maps over the side of the plane, and she landed in a farmer's field to get her bearings and fill her water bottle. As luck would have it, cattle were grazing in the pasture ... 
      But the farmer's wife was a bigger threat. Washing clothes outside in a washtub, she marched over to the plane and yelled at Ruth for scaring the cattle. Ruth didn't dillydally; she just swung the plane around and took off!"

and something more: I particularly liked that Flying Solo features a woman, Ruth Elder, who sought to be the first to cross the Atlantic and win the Powder Puff Derby. She wasn't the first or the winner, but she's recognized for trying and for what she did accomplish which was for a woman to be "flying airplanes [at a time when it was considered] not just daring but outright shocking." 
       The lovely dedication in Flying Solo by the author, Julie Cummins says it all: "To the young women who see the horizon of their dreams and soar toward it - fly, girls, fly!"  

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