My little nephew adores aeroplanes and for sometime my sister and I have been lamenting the fact that there is a dearth of childrens books about little aeroplanes. Jets, and airliners yep. “All about going on holiday by airliner” type things yep. Little flying club type machines, no.
So I was quite delighted to discover a new website set up promising almost exactly that. The site was “Tales from An Airfield” and I eagerly signed up to hear when the book was published then ordered it forthwith.
It caused a few odd looks at work as I tumbled it out of its packaging this morning, to coo over the colourful cover. Even more pleasing was the hardback itself bears the same picture – as I suspect that the dust jacket will not survive long in the enthusiastic hands of my nephew.
In the foreword the author explains his desire to write something that featured ‘real’ aeroplanes not cartoony stereotypes and with to that end enlisted a ‘real’ aviation artist for the illustrations. These are consequently rather lovely – in spite of (or partly because of) a rather odd contrast between the beautifully realistic aircraft and the cheerful character faces. I rather liked the eccentric detail that the aeroplane’s ‘expression’ moves about from one part to the other depends on what they happen to be doing – thus allowing charming images of the main charter looking dolefully down at an engineer examining a wheel, watching passengers from an open door or consulting with his pilot in the cockpit. It makes an unusual but effective change from the aforementioned cartoony aeroplanes where the whole nose tends to be distorted into a grinning face!
The characters are fairly typical children’s fare – generally good and fair if mischievous, with the occasional sulky or stroppy or reckless behaviour being duly tutted at! I suspect our poor loyal club Cessna will suffer from comparison with Snooty Cynthia the next time we take her on holiday though!
The stories, are simple adventures with some problem or other to be overcome. They use the airfield setting well though, and any flyer enlisted to read these to a younger relative will be smiling at some of the turns of phase snuck in there with a nod and a wink for the benefit of the reading adult, or older child.
I laughed out loud several times and can’t wait to see the reaction of my nephew — there’s lots in there that as an enthusiastic young visitor to the airfield he’ll recognise. My money is on either the aerobatics or the glider story to be his favourite.
The only problem is I liked it so much I find I don’t want to part with the copy I bought for my him and am off to get a second one to keep for myself!