Drawing on her training as a historian and her considerable writing talents, Fleming (The Great and Only Barnum, 2009) offers a fresh look at this famous aviatrix. Employing dual narratives—straightforward biographical chapters alternating with a chilling recounting of Earhart’s final flight and the search that followed—Fleming seeks to uncover the “history in the hype,” pointing out numerous examples in which Earhart took an active role in mythologizing her own life. While not disparaging Earhart’s achievements, Fleming cites primary sources revealing that Earhart often flew without adequate preparation and that she and her husband, George Putnam, used every opportunity to promote her celebrity, including soliciting funds from sponsors. The use of a gray-tone background for the disappearance chapters successfully differentiates the narratives for younger readers. Frequent sidebars, well-chosen maps, archival documents, and photos further clarify textual references without disturbing the overall narrative flow. Appended with a generous bibliography and detailed source notes, this is a book most libraries will want both for its fascinating story and as an illustration of how research can alter historical perspective. Grades 4-7. --Kay Weisman
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2011:
"Handwritten notes, photos, maps and inquisitive sidebars (What did Earhart eat during flight? Tomato juice and chocolate) complete this impeccably researched, appealing package. A stunning look at an equally stunning lady."
Starred Review, The Horn Book Magazine, March/April 2011:
"The book’s structure and scope, along with the story’s inherent drama, provide a taut, cinematic backdrop for the history of Earhart’s doomed flight."
Starred Review, School Library Journal, March 2011:
"Ho-hum history? Not in Fleming’s apt hands. What could be a dry recitation of facts and dates is instead a gripping and suspenseful thriller...This book is splendid. Hand it to everyone."
Starred Review, The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, March 2011:
"Fleming cleverly structures this biography to give the tale of tragedy a fresh and dreadful impact...As a result, this offers not only a provocative introduction to Earhart but also compelling glimpse of what it was like to watch her disappear from the world."