From School Library Journal
Grade 5 Up—In a dramatic prologue, a ship offshore of the tiny harbor town of Trepassey, Newfoundland, is dashed to pieces as a plane flies safely overhead, an image that skillfully sets the tone of the book while also presaging the events that will one day claim Earhart's life. The story begins in 1928, with the intrepid Earhart coming to Trepassey in hopes of becoming the first woman to pilot a plane across the Atlantic. After being grounded by several failed flight attempts, she meets a kindred spirit in Grace, a plucky local girl with dreams of becoming a journalist. Earhart gives Grace (and readers) some background into her earlier life and motivations. It is with great joy that Grace receives news of the aviatrix's successful flight. Flash forward nine years and Grace, inspired by Earhart's accomplishments, is now working for a newspaper in Halifax when she learns of the pilot's sudden and mysterious disappearance. Readers are left knowing that Earhart's legacy will give Grace the strength to try to break down the barriers that prevent her from becoming a reporter. Taylor's thoughtful, deliberately paced storytelling may seem slow to some readers, but it allows for a less-sensationalized accounting of the pilot's life. Towle's black, white, and mono-color illustrations have a classic feel that enlivens the tale with casual grace. Endnotes provide insight into the story for those looking for more information. An excellent choice for comic fans, history buffs, and anyone looking for a strong female role model.—Douglas P. Davey, Halton Hills Public Library, Ontario, Canada
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*Starred Review* Although this first woman of flight has been the subject of many juvenile biographies, Taylor and Towle have combined their talents for research, narrative, and image to offer a fresh view of one particular chapter of her life. In June 1928, Earhart became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic—not as the pilot but as a passenger. The bulk of the story takes place in a small Newfoundland village, the takeoff point for the historic flight, and is told from the point of view of a young girl. The unromanticized depiction portrays the drunkard pilot and reveals the often-harsh preconceptions that both the locals and reporters had of this unconventional woman. As Earhart invested in her own dreams, in the end so too does the young girl she inspires. Endnotes authenticate the underlying historical significance and accuracy of some images, including those of her last, apparently failed, flight, 10 years later. Towle’s black-and-white cartooning, washed with aqua blue, nicely suits the period and displays the excellent work of James Sturm’s Center for Cartoon Studies, through which this book was developed. This is a true sequential art narrative, requiring the reader to attend to the visual as well as the verbal components; but it is also a well-told story of an episode in Earhart’s life that has particular appeal to readers looking for insight on how celebrity is both made and misunderstood, and how it matures. Grades 4-7. --Francisca Goldsmith