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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Ex-library book. The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting.
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Wingwalker Hardcover – May 1, 2002

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Studded with Selznick's evocative illustrations, Wells's affecting chapter book opens in 1933, when the young narrator wins an airplane ride with a stunt pilot at the Oklahoma Air Races. Reuben is terrified, but his airplane-mad father can't see it: "I saw pride shining in his eyes like stars," Reuben observes. "If I did not go, I would forever cut a little diamond shape of disappointment out of my father's heart." After the dreaded wild ride, Reuben swears he will never go higher than his attic window. But Reuben's sights are to be radically expanded. When dust storms turn the green prairies "the color of meal crackers," Reuben's parents lose their jobs. His father, answering an ad for a "wingwalker" who "must be brave and light on the feet" (the job entails standing on the wing of a plane as it circles above paying onlookers), moves the family to join a carnival in Minnesota. In a voice at once ingenuous and wise, Reuben relays his mutually enriching encounters with the kind carnival performers, who help him soar, literally and figuratively. Rendered in a muted palette, the art has a quiet gravity, whether showing Hopper-like streets of small towns or even people queuing at carnival attractions, their eyes averted or hidden from the viewer. The final spread has all the more power for its contrast: sunlight illuminates a cloudy sky as the hero, finally, takes wing. Ages 7-10.

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-6-In this deceptively slim, slice-of-life chapter book, the narrator recounts a pivotal childhood summer. Reuben is a carefree second grader living in rural Oklahoma with his mother, a caf‚ cook, and his father, a dance instructor, when the Depression and Dust Bowl end the family's stable, quiet way of life. Desperate for work, the boy's father takes a job as an airplane wingwalker in a Minnesota traveling carnival. Reuben's retelling of the dramatic events is subtle and matter-of-fact, filled with the small, everyday details that color memories and help readers to see life through his eyes. Although some youngsters may need historical background to understand the family's experiences, they will relate to Reuben's feelings, and to the timeless themes-coping with teasing, peer pressure, unwelcome change, and overcoming one's fears. The carnival workers are portrayed with dignity and humor. Filled with muted earth tones and hinting of folk art, Selznick's striking, bordered paintings create an evocative portrait of the era, and aptly complement the quality text. Even the endpapers reflect the period, resembling popular wallpaper patterns of the '30s. An engaging story, and a well-crafted, thoroughly enjoyable book.
Heide Piehler, Shorewood Public Library, WI
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 5
  • Lexile Measure: 650L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion; 1 edition (May 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786803975
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786803972
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.6 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,584,800 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In large type (maybe 16 pt), with dusty 1930's illustrations, the authors recreate a prairie boy's life during The Great Depression. Reuben, a small second grader, is called shrimp-boats by his classmates, and a scaredy cat by Mary Ellen, until he wins a ride in a barrel rolling, Curtiss Jenny barn storming bi plane. His mother serves chicken a la king to truckers at the Lariat Café. His father teaches dancing, and wears a silk handkerchief, just like the U.S. President. But as the Depression continued, both his parents lose their jobs, and his father must find work with dangerous oil drilling rigs. Reuben expects to start 3rd grade in his comfortable Oklahoma town, but his father loses his job, and must find work anywhere doing anything. When he finds an ad for a wingwalker, the family leaves Oklahoma for a new adventure. While his father works in the circus, more as a wing-dancer than a wing walker, Reuben must make new friends, and some are quite unusual, like the Tattooed Lady. Traveling with the circus, they cross Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky. A sweet, quiet, timeless book for summer reading.
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Format: Hardcover
This story of a young boy who lives through the Great Depression will give readers a delicious taste of the period. Imagine your father losing his job and becoming a stuntman who walks on the wings of an aeroplane!! Scary! Selznick's unique illustrations complement Wells' vivid writing. I always feel like I'm right there in the story when I look at Selznick's illustrations...Wells' text pulls me in even farther.
Wow!! Read this to a whole class group (2-8) to get a flavor of the Era and to study the craft of writing - Wells stuffs this story with passages that should be highlighted and analyzed as models of how to capture a reader's imagination.
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Format: Hardcover
WINGWALKER by Rosemary Wells is the story of a young boy, who at the age of seven experiences the loss of security as a result of his parents losing their home and jobs during the dust storms of the 1930's. The family is forced to move and meet new challenges and people. During the time his mother and father go to work for a traveling carnival, Reuben grows from a young boy very afraid of riding in an airplane to being able to ride the wings of a carnival airplane with his father. The book is a touching story of a young boy's growth from babyish insecurity to courageous adolescence. The illustrator, Brain Selznick tells the family's story through muted pastel color paintings that have a dusty overglazed appearance. He does an outstanding job of capturing the thoughts and feelings of the characters, especially Reuben, with very meaningful facial expressions. Overall, the book shows skillful blending of text and artwork.
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By M. Heiss on March 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful story for family read-alouds. Great family dynamics, although I was cautious at first. Great book about accepting life's circumstances and accepting other people.

It's just a great book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As we had watched wing walkers at an airshow in the Summer, and he enjoyed talking to the walker after the show, this was a good choice for him. Also, it was about Oklahoma.
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