• Children's

    Benny the Biplane

    From the back cover: Benny the Biplane loved to fly! He flew pilots everywhere during the war. But then Benny lost his job. Now he sits in a field with other jobless planes. Benny hopes he can find a new job and get to fly once again. From the publisher: BENNY THE BIPLANE is a beginning reader for children ages 4-8 with decidedly educational and historical leanings. The text is that of a traditional children’s picture book for very young readers, and it weighs in at just 308 words in 24 pages. It uses repetition of siimple time elements and clauses, mostly monosyllabic words (monosyllabic being one of the most ironic words in the English language), and syntactically is short and easy to read. It covers concepts such as jobs, joblessness, sadness, hope, and success, with both a resolution and an ending that reinforce the concept that even when the outlook appears dim, the future may hold better opportunities than the one that was lost. It is unlike other children’s books because It incorporates historical photographs of actual biplanes, including a list of illustrations in the back matter that indicates the model of biplane (and some other planes as well), approximate shooting date, and location (if available) for each photograph. This additional detail widens the age range of the book’s audience, provides additional information for those readers who are interested, and creates additional learning and discussion opportunities for children, their parents, librarians, and educators. For flying nuts (we’re not sure that’s the correct term, but we’re running with it anyway), the photographs may bring back memories of the rich heritage of biplanes in the United States and Europe. For young readers, and even their parents, the initial reaction may be, "Where are the colors?" But please give it a chance. It’s a great story, and was written before planning the interior illustrations. That is to say, the illustrations did not drive the story—the other way around. Unfortunately, though some color illustrations could be used, that would detract from the style and consistency of the work. Other books in the series will incorporate color illustrations depending on the subject matter and appropriate style considerations. From an educational standpoint, the book provides excellent reading practice for children who are still mastering the fundamentals of simple sentence structure and common word forms. It may be appealing to young boys who have only a modest interest in books and reading, though we have found that little girls love the book as much or more than boys do. Children as young as three years old have enjoyed having BENNY THE BIPLANE read to them. As a picture book, it’s relatively short, so it’s a great, easy read on those nights when a longer book won’t quite fit the bill. We hope you love it! Feel free to leave a review and share your feedback so that we may incorporate your ideas into future volumes in the Benny the Biplane series.