A Dream of Flight: Alberto Santos-Dumont’s Race Around the Eiffel Tower is one of those powerful books that gives you a piece of history you might not be familiar with. Though not an all-encompassing/text-book look, it is a complete and general look at the history of flight in its early years. And it also gives you the story of one person who did much to get it to what we know as aviation today.
Years before the Wright Brothers, a young Brazilian man-made history by trying, failing, trying again, failing, until he finally got it right and was able to make human flight possible in something other than a hot-air balloon. He had been interested in flight since he was a child in Brazil living on his father’s plantation and never stopped that passion. The details of each attempt are given with the right amount of detail. The illustrations show you the settings and time period. And while the book is on the longer side for a picture book, everything there is needed. There is little to no “filler” to take up space. Both Rob and Jef Polivka seem to love their subject and want to share it with others.
These fantastic pictures also show how Santos became the rock-star of his time. The colors and details are fabulous. There is much to see and learn about. They soften what could be a slightly dull story by bringing color into the picture.
The timeline at the end of the book is an amazing way to put things into perspective. This book is perfect for the flight enthusiast of ages five to eight, but of course, perfect for adults, too. Classroom or one-on-one setting reading settings work.