|Wood, wire, wings : Emma Lilian Todd invents an airplane|
Author: Larson, Kirsten W.
This picture book biography explores self-taught engineer Emma Lilian Todd as she tackles one of the greatest challenges of the early 1900s: designing an airplane.
Kirkus Reviews (01/01/20)
School Library Journal (02/01/20)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 02/01/2020 Gr 2–4—While the Wright brothers are known for inventing the first airplane, another inventor wanted to make the design of the airplane more practical. Emma Lilian Todd, sparked by curiosity to tinker, engineer, and invent even as a child, worked to build her own airplane. The illustrations give life to this narrative nonfiction account of Todd's upbringing and her thirst for solving problems through prototyping. Each gear and each part used in her childhood mechanical creations is drawn with noticeable detail. Movement is depicted through wispy clouds and bold strokes in the sky when the story focuses on Todd's fascination with flight. Vivid colors add a warm, rich tone to match the extraordinary effort and care that Todd put into inventing. Quotations from the book's subject and others mentioned in her story are sprinkled throughout the narrative, providing insight into Todd's creative process. A detailed author's note, photographs of the real Todd and her airplane models (with photo credits), a time line, and a selected bibliography are included in the back matter. VERDICT This inspiring work shines a light on a lesser-known inventor who was the first woman to design an airplane. An excellent purchase for public and elementary school biography collections.—Molly Dettmann, Norman North High School, OK - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 02/15/2020 In tribute to the hands-on spirit of all inventors—but especially women—Larson profiles a little-known, self-taught engineer who designed a working aircraft that improved upon the Wright brothers’ model. With a family that encouraged her to make and fiddle with gadgets, Emma Lilian Todd gravitated toward a job in the U.S. Patent Office, where her interest in flying machines led to years of experimentation. Though this account has little to say about Todd’s other inventions or the rest of her life, her determination despite failures is a central theme that adds plenty of lift. In windswept digital watercolors, Subisak depicts her subject as an active, confident figure. Back matter, which includes a comprehensive source list and a general time line of aviation in the Wright era, adds additional detail. Todd herself was not a pilot, but her story pairs naturally with those about the first generations of female aviators (e.g., Louise Borden’s Fly High! The Story of Bessie Coleman, 2001; Marissa Moss’ Brave Harriet, 2001; Julie Cummins’ Flying Solo: How Ruth Elder Soared into America’s Heart, 2013). - Copyright 2020 Booklist.