Ask a Pilot: A Pilot Answers Kids’ Questions About Air Travel (Justin Kelley)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Ask a Pilot: A Pilot Answers Kids’ Questions About Air Travel, written by Justin Kelley and illustrated by David Miles, a compact and informational guidebook of the questions that little ones love to ask about planes and flying.

There are plenty of mysteries that little bookworms – and, let’s face it, big bookworms – often have about air travel. For instance, where do the bags go? Why is it so bumpy? Is “airplane mode” on our devices really that important? And how do those big, heavy planes get off the ground in the first place? Pilot and dad Justin Kelley is here with answers to all these questions and more, and to help inquisitive young aviators learn the ins and outs of flying by airplane.

Fun and informative! Written in an interview/guidebook style, each question about being a pilot, airline travel, and aeronautics is answered in one to three pages of conversational text accompanied by stylized yet edifying illustrations. Kelley covers most of the FAQs that little bookworms are likely to have about air travel, and plenty that adults might wonder about as well! Scientific and/or industry-specific terms (such as “crabbing” or “TCAS”) are bolded and explained in approachable terms, leaving readers of all ages with a better understanding of how planes, flight crew, and airports operate. In addition, the lightweight design makes this ideal for a plane trip read (and/or distraction) for young and inquisitive travelers. The length and content makes this one better for older elementary and middle-grade readers, but JJ enjoyed some of the sillier questions and the colorful art. Overall, this is a great one to look into pre-travel, or for any little one obsessed with planes. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Paper Planes (Jim Helmore & Richard Jones)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Paper Planes by Jim Helmore & Richard Jones, a touching story of enduring friendship.

Mia and Ben are best friends. They grew up next door to each other on the shore of a great, wide lake. They share everything, especially their greatest passion: aeronautics. Making paper and model planes, they would race their creations against the flying geese and dream of one day making a plane that could fly all the way across the lake. Yet their idyllic friendship is suddenly dealt a heavy blow; Ben breaks the news that his family is moving very far away. The pair promise to remember each other, and to stay friends. But as the seasons change, Mia begins to feel ever lonelier, hurt, and sad. In a rage, she smashes the model plane Ben had given her as a goodbye present, and feels even worse. That night, however, something magical happens: the plane is restored, and able to fly Mia across the sea to visit Ben in her dreams. And when she wakes, she finds that, even through distance and strain, great friendship is worth working on.

Fantastic. This gentle and tender tale of the difficulty of losing a friend to distance – both literal and figurative – is as beautiful to look at as it is to read. Mia and Ben both experience the quiet and lonesome frustrations of their separation in a way that does not trivialize these very big feelings, yet gives the reader hope that those same feelings will pass. And Ben’s final gesture of reaching out to Mia works as a wonderful metaphor for the work that both parties must put into a friendship, and how incredible the results can be. The soft, chalky art is stunning and emotional, and fits the tone of the story perfectly. The length is fine for any age and JJ and I both loved it. A great story of the power of friendship to help us fly, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved.

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)