The Fabulous Flying Machines of Alberto Santos-Dumont

The Fabulous Flying Machines of Alberto Santos-Dumont

Book - 2011/09/01
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Harry N. Abrams, Inc.

While the Wright Brothers were gliding over Kitty Hawk, the charming Brazilian Alberto Santos-Dumont was making his own mark on the history of flight.

Alberto loved floating over Paris in his personal flying machine called a dirigible. He would tie it to a post, climb down, and spend the day shopping or meeting friends for coffee. But he wanted to make his invention even better. By 1906, Alberto had transformed his balloon into a box with wings! But now there was competition. Another inventor challenged Alberto to see who would be the first in flight. Alberto’s hard work paid off, and his airplane successfully soared into the air, making him the first pilot to lift off and land a completely self-propelled plane.

The book includes an author’s note about Santos-Dumont, a bibliography, an index, and photographs of his flying machines.

Praise for Fabulous Flying Machines of Alberto Santos-Dumont
“At the turn of the last century, all sorts of ambitious and eccentric men were competing furiously to get the first airplane into the sky. One of the most famous of these was a dashing Brazilian who lived in Paris and, to wide admiration, did his errands by airship. Victoria Griffith tells his story…which is illustrated with panache in rich, smudgy oils and pastels by Italian artist Eva Montanari.” –Wall Street Journal

"An excellent read-aloud, this picture book is a must when studying the history of flight and can be used as a resource for research, a book for all your reading needs!" -Library Media Connection

“Montanari’s chalky illustrations are distinguished by a strong sense of motion, and the story’s suspense (rival pilots! harrowing landings!) and surprise cameos (Louis Cartier!) make this an elegant tribute to a hero of early aviation.” –Publishers Weekly

Strong vertical trim and layout, which one would expect to exploit sweeping skyscapes, are instead cleverly deployed to put viewers among the earthbound spectators, most often glimpsing the aviator in the distance. A bibliography and brief index round out the title, which will be a first choice for aviation enthusiasts.” –The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

"A generous spirit and penchant for grand gestures make him [Santos-Dumont] all the more worth knowing—particularly for American audiences unaware that there is any question about who was the first to fly. –Kirkus Reviews

“Montanari captures the look, dress, and formality of the era in her splendid, impressionistic pastel, chalk, and oil paintings. The endnotes add details and facts about the life of this charismatic, adventurous man and mark his place in aviation history.” –School Library Journal

“Even if you’ve never heard of Santos-Dumont, you’ll be delighted to meet this real-life historical figure in Victoria Griffith’s vivid debut picture book. This fine picture book resurrects his story in lively prose and large-scale illustrations rendered in pastels, chalks, oil pastels and oil paint, perfectly capturing the drama of the events. The fuzzy lines lend a feeling of history to the illustrations, and gestures and humorous touches, such as a dog holding the dirigible’s tether or Alberto racing horse-drawn carriages, make Alberto Santos-Dumont and his times come alive.” –BookPage

Baker & Taylor
A young reader's introduction to the innovations and achievements of the French airman who was the first pilot to lift off and land a completely self-propelled plane describes his early use of a dirigible and the 1906 competition that inspired his development of a winged aircraft.

& Taylor

Profiles Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, who made great strides in the invention of flight.

Publisher: New York : Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2011/09/01
ISBN: 9781419700118
Branch Call Number: J 629.13 GRI
Characteristics: 32
Additional Contributors: Montanari, Eva 1977-- Illustrator


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They say history is written by the winners. It’s also written, a lot of the time, by the Americans. Now you get a different point of view in a slim little picture book and that, suffice to say, is delightful.


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ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 6 and 10


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If you were a resident of Paris, France in the early 20th century you might have glanced up into the sky to see one Alberto Santos-Dumont in his handy dandy dirigible. A transplanted Brazilian and fan of the power of flight, Alberto was friends with Louis Cartier who bestowed upon him a wrist-based alternative to the pocket watch. Now he could time himself in the sky! Determined to create an official flying machine, Alberto announces the date and location that he intends to use one to take to the sky. But when sneaky Louis Bleriot arrives with the intention of stealing Alberto’s thunder, the question of who will go down in the history books is (ha ha) up in the air.


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“Alberto Santos-Dumont loved floating over Paris in his own personal flying machine.”


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