Aviation pioneer Ruth Law was famous for her daredevil aviation tricks (“The loop . . . the spiral dive . . . the dip of death!”), but by 1916 she had grown tired of ”flying in circles” and decided to fly from Chicago to New York City. No one had flown that far nonstop before, and Law had never flown farther than 25 miles. But, as Heather Lang explains in her account of Law’s record-breaking flight, “When Ruth Law made up her mind, there was no use trying to stop her.”
Fearless Flyer is a fine example of a creative, informative and entertaining historical picture book for young readers. It seamlessly blends the excitement and perils of this journey with quotes from Law: “When your engine suddenly stops while you’re 2,000 feet in the air, it’s some comfort to know that if anything can be done, you can do it.”
Every page combines historical details with a series of heart-stopping moments: zero pressure on the oil gauge; no gas left in the tanks; tree branches “clawing” at Law’s plane; and fog. Compelling, soaring illustrations by Raúl Colón add to this drama and draw readers into Law’s open-air cockpit as she flies over fields and farms. Lang writes: “One wrong move would send her tumbling from the sky.” It’s amazing to learn that Law steered her aircraft with two wooden levers while consulting a homemade map box, crafted by cutting and pasting map strips together, all attached to a roller mechanism strapped to her leg. Also included is a short account of Law’s life, along with photographs and a list of additional resources.
Fearless Flyer provides young readers with a thrilling introduction to an intrepid aviator and her remarkable journey.