Borden, Louise, Trish Marx, Ills. Peter Fiore. Touching the Sky: The Flying Adventures of Wilbur and Orville Wright. Margaret K. McElderry Books, New York, NY, 2003.
In Touching the Sky: The Flying Adventures of Wilbur and Orville Wright, Louise Borden and Trish Marx use free verse to relate stories about the famous flight pioneers and the record-setting flights that they performed in September of 1909, Wilbur in New York City and Orville outside of Berlin. Peter Fiore’s colorful watercolor illustrations capture the liveliness and excitement that surrounded these historic flights.
Touching the Sky succeeds in making the legend of the Wright Brothers come to life through these two brief stories. Each story brings one brother to the center in turn, showing them as individuals instead of simply as half of the Wright Brothers. It shows another aspect of the Wright brothers that is often neglected – the huge fame that they attained after their success with flight.
The text is simple enough to not be too challenging for young children, but not overly simplistic so as to lose the interest of more advanced readers. Fiore’s pictures help to bring the stories alive visually both by portraying the emotions of the stories and showing the reader what the world looked like in 1909; not only the Wright planes, but also the clothing, buildings, and people of the time and places shown.
This book is a good choice for elementary students. The text is suitable and the pictures are interesting enough on their own to divert children who may not yet be up to the reading level of the text.
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