Monday, January 30, 2012

The Airplane Boys Among the Clouds by John Luther Langworthy ****

So I was browsing through the other night & while looking at the listings of kids series books this one caught my eye.  More accurately, this one caught my husband's eye.  He likes planes & he likes history, & seeing a book written for kids back in 1912 about planes pretty much was a melding of the two.  He begged me to read this one next & review it on here, so now here we go! 
First off, this was fun to read.  It starts with the full title: The Airplane Boys Among the Clouds; or, Young Aviators in a Wreck.  I think I know what might happen to our two intrepid heroes, Frank & Andy Bird!  But wait!  They don't just fly their new-fangled fancy biplane up to the top of Old Thunder Top & give the eagles that nest there a nasty scare--they also deal with two mysterious men who've come to town.  Oh yeah, & there's an escaped convict too who takes pot-shots at them while they fly above him.  One of my favorite lines is when the police chief tells Frank Bird (remember, Frank's only about 17):
"He might try to steal your new biplane I've heard them talking about; or even burn down your whole outfit.  Better get a gun, & keep watch.  He's fair game, you know, if so be you catch him prowling around after dark.  An escaped convict hasn't any rights in the eye of the law."
Alrighty then, Chief!  I'll just shoot to kill then!  Wow!  Those were the good ol' days!  Lucky for the convict, Jules Garrone, that Frank decided to spring a trap on him instead.  And the Bird boys (including their friends Larry, Elephant, & I'm sorry to say Stuttering Nat) were quite upstanding lads to boot.  After they caught the dastardly devil this is what ensued:
"Frank had meanwhile tied his ankles as well, & helped drag him further into the shop.  When the man started to using language that was offensive, he warned him plainly that if he kept that up any longer they would find some means of gagging him."
Take that, you rotten scoundrel! 
Even with my limited knowledge of aviation it amused me to hear the references to guy wires & the smart little Kincaid engine that the boys had put on the biplane they'd built.  Also the fact they needed a good push sometimes to take off.  The wheels were referred to as bicycle wheels, & the Wright Brothers were referenced also--as contemporaries! 
So all in all, I'm glad Dog suggested this book.  If you'd like to download it yourself for free just click this link.  I don't think it's read too much anymore, but I can sense the amazed love that many a young boy 100 years ago would have had for this body of work.

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