Let’s Read Three: Airplane Books

It’s time for another quick picture book trio! Today’s grouping is in appreciation of all things aeronautical. It seems that nearly every child goes through an airplane phase and the plethora of plane picture books seems to support my observation. In honor of that, I’ve put together three of my favorite airplane picture books that work well together and are a mixture of old and new as well as short and long. So let’s read three books about airplanes!

Don’t be scared off by two of these being board books. I’ve said it many times, board books don’t have to be just for babies. They should always be shorter, and if done well, are a very concise story perfectly paired with longer books as I’ve done here. And these two board books are beauties!

1. Planes Go by Steve Light, 2014

Start out with this brand-new book set to land from Chronicle Books this fall, 2014. It is beautiful and incredibly fun to read-aloud as Steve Light seems to specialize in brilliant read-aloud board books. This is the next book in his series that includes Trains Go, Trucks Go, and Diggers Go. (I also have heard that boats are on the docket for 2015!) The long format of this book is perfect for the flying airplanes and their accompanying sounds. From sea planes to helicopters, jumbo jets to blimps, each page features a type of flying apparatus and a typographical, phonetically written sound that the plane makes. This is a book that will test your sound-creating skills. I admit that I have never been a very good machine sound maker, but Light does his very best to make it doable and delightful at the same time. His watercolor drawings are graphic, colorful, and full of movement as they zoom across the page. A great beginning for this airplane reading.

2. The Glorious Flight, Across the Channel With Louis Blériot by Alice and Martin Provensen, 1983

Next up is a longer, non-fiction book about the fantastic flight of Louis Blériot in 1909. The Caldecott winner from 1984, this book is gorgeous in the recognizable and highly beloved style of the Provensens. The text is written in a spare, almost poetic way that is lovely storytelling, making the details undaunting, yet setting the framework for Blériot’s famous English Channel flight. I love the Provensens’ subtle illustration of the passage of time with the growth of his children as you count plane version after version. And the way they include not only the five children by name, but also the dog, the cat, and the big cockatoo. Those are the kind of details made for kids, making an easily drawn out storyline much more interesting and memorable. The Provensens know how to do picture books.

3. Planes by Byron Barton, 1986

The last of our little grouping is a wonderfully bright little board book. A simple narrative creates the story arc describing a jet plane in different stages of its journey, from being filled with people, cargo and gas, to taking off and landing. In a similar vein as Steve Light’s book, the story mentions all kinds of planes like sea planes, writing planes, and crop-dusters; but focuses mainly on the jet plane as it passes each. My husband picked up this book on a business trip as a way to describe his flight to our daughter. I love the bold colors and the basic shapes of the people. It is a great little book for the airplane obsessed and a sweet companion to other aeronautical pieces.

So there we have our little airplane love. By the way, that Provensen book uses the older term for planes: aeroplane, which while perhaps a bit confusing, is another opening to discuss the winged machines and their history. Hope you find this grouping delightful as well as inspiring if you’re ever in need of some airplane books for a budding pilot!

One thought on “Let’s Read Three: Airplane Books

  1. Thanks so much for being a part of Booknificent Thursday this week! This looks fantastic! My next lesson at the school I teach English at is actually about planes and their noises! Wish I could get my hands on big book versions of the two board books you mention here, but I’ll see what I can find at our library here. Let me know if you can think of any older ones with few words (suitable for kids with very little English) that I can look for. Thanks!


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