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Flight School
From Paper Planes to Flying Fish, More than 20 Models to Make and Fly
Mike Barfield

Buster Books (Michael O’Mara)
2 May 2019 / Out in US 1 February 2020/ ISBN 9781780555850
Tweener / NonFiction / How-To

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde


When I was a child I had a favorite book called Airborne Animals and How They Fly, which fascinated me. There was some rather complex stuff in it, however, which was hard to understand, and I wished that there were some practical experiments to try as this would have helped a lot. That book might have failed to deliver, but this book delivers so in spades if it is flight you want to experience in action. Inside it are twenty models to cut out and construct, then you get to see them in action.

Before you get to the making part, the first half of the book contains facts about flight. It also tells you what you will need to make the models (all basic office supplies any home should possess), and at the front is a page telling in very simple terms what flight actually is. Beyond this, each page is packed with information in easy to read print and short paragraphs, plus black and white line drawings that you could color in if you wanted to get even more out of the book. The models themselves are all printed in color, which makes them look professional and means that you can cross art materials off the list. I would have liked to have seen some plain models, particularly if they were of something where color was a matter of choice, but you can’t please everybody.

The text takes you from the earliest forms of flight, such as giant dragonfly Meganeura and Archaeopteryx, to modern birds, gliders like conuras and flying foxes, and seeds that use flight to disperse. Human flight runs from the legendary Icarus and Chinese kites through to da Vinci, early “bird men”, and more recent pioneers such as the Wright brothers, Bleriot and Concorde. Blasting into the modern age, the book takes a look at rockets and ponders on how fiction is becoming fact with jet packs and flying cars.

It is easy to read and understand for a tweener, and the same goes for the model instructions. These need to be cut out rather than pressed out and will give the child a chance to quit the virtual world for the actual one of scissors, glue and paperclips. As these skills often get overlooked, there is more education in here than just science. Each model is printed in color on both sides of the page and there are staged diagrams (also in color) showing how to make it up and even how to make it fly. As you require so little to get the maximum out of this book (you can fit it all into a pencil case), it is ideal for taking on vacation and delving into when the weather takes its own nosedive. Highly recommended.

Reviewed 2019