Reviews for Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride : Based on a True Story


Booklist Monthly Selections - #2 October 1999
Gr. 2^-4, younger for reading aloud. Yes, Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt did sneak off for an airplane ride after dinner at the White House. But, no, Earhart did not pilot the plane, as she does in this picture book for older children. Ryan makes clear in her long author's note at the book's conclusion that she has changed that fact to make the story more "exciting." It's true, the story does work better without the two Eastern Air Transport pilots flying the plane per regulations (though Amelia and Eleanor both took turns at the controls). Still, the central event of this "based on true story" piece of fiction didn't happen, and kids probably won't read the author's note to clarify the text. Too bad about the confusion, because this book has so much going for it--an engaging text and simply wonderful pencil illustrations that not only capture the black-and-white visual sensibility of the 1930s but also feature inventive show-offy scenes--the White House surrounded by masses of cherry blossoms, an aerial view of the Capitol at night, and the captivating dust-jacket illustration of Eleanor and Amelia that will immediately draw readers to the book. Both Ryan and Selznick clearly did their research, and one of the book's chief attributes is its depiction, in both words and pictures, of two strong women--really pioneers. Despite the change in the incident, children will get a sense of the importance of Earhart and Roosevelt to America's history in general, and women's history in particular. ((Reviewed October 15, 1999)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2000 Spring
In this fictionalized account of an actual event, Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt have dinner at the White House, take a night flight over Washington, D.C., and go for a ride in Eleanor's new car. An author's note separates fact from fiction, but the story comes off sounding more manipulative than inspiring. Selznick's graphite and colored pencil illustrations try too hard to take up space in this oversized book.Copyright 2000 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 1999 October #1
Ryan and Selznick skillfully blend fact and fiction for a rip-roaring tale of an utterly credible adventure. On April 20, 1933, Amelia Earhart had dinner at the White House with her friend, Eleanor Roosevelt. Amelia's description of flying at night so entranced Eleanor that the two of them, still in their evening clothes, flew in a Curtis Condor twin-motor airplane and were back in time for dessert. Eleanor herself had studied for a pilot's license, but had to be content driving instead. Selznick has created marvelous graphite pictures, with slight washes of color, for scenes based on accounts and descriptions of the evening, right down to the china on the White House table. Using a slightly exaggerated style and a superb sense of line and pattern, he plays with varying perspectives, close-ups, and panoramas to create a vivid visual energy that nicely complements the text. There is sheer delight in the friends' shared enjoyment of everything from a formal dinner and fine gloves to the skies they navigated. A final historical photograph shows the two on the plane that night. (Picture book. 5-10) Copyright 1999 Kirkus Reviews

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 1999 September #4
In this sparkling picture book based on a true incident, Ryan (Riding Freedom, with Selznick) proves that Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt truly were "birds of a feather." Friends in real life, America's First Lady invited the "First Lady of the Air" to dinner at the White House in 1933. Eleanor, inspired by Amelia's descriptions of Washington viewed from her plane at night, accepts the pilot's offer of an after-dinner flight over the capital. Before dessert can be served, and over the protests of the Secret Service agents, the two are off to the airport and up in the sky, thrilling to the brilliance of the city below. Hewing closely to documented accounts, Ryan's inviting text adds drama and draws parallels between the two protagonists with fictional touches: she places them alone together in the plane (an author's note explains that in fact they were accompanied by two male pilots) and adds a final scene in which Eleanor takes Amelia for a zippy ride around the city in her brand-new car. Selznick's illustrations, black-and-white graphite accented with touches of purple pencil, both capture the vibrancy of his subjects and evoke the feel of a more glamorous era. A brief but compelling slice from the lives of two determined, outspoken and passionate women. Ages 5-9. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 1999 September
Gr 1-4 Ryan imaginatively expands on a true historical event in this intriguing picture book. While dining at the White House in 1933, Amelia Earhart convinces Eleanor Roosevelt to join her on a night flight to Baltimore. The two women marvel at the sights and the excitement from the air. After landing, they sneak away for one more adventure, as this time, the First Lady treats her friend to a fast ride in her new car. The fictionalized tale is lively and compelling, and the courage and sense of adventure that these individuals shared will be evident even to children who know nothing about their lives. Without belaboring the message, the author clearly conveys how the "feeling of independence" that both women treasured was a crucial part of their personalities. Selznick's larger-than-life pencil drawings add considerably to the spirit of the tale. He captures the glorious beauty of the night flight and the beauty of the city below. Varied perspectives and background details consistently draw readers' eyes. An author's note clearly defines which elements of the story are factual. The women were actually accompanied by two male pilots, but the author decided that it made it "much more exciting" to imagine that they were alone. "Almost all" of the dialogue comes from historical accounts. The title stands well on its own, but will also work as an excellent inspiration for further reading about the lives of Eleanor Roosevelt and Amelia Earhart. Steven Engelfried, Deschutes County Library, Bend, OR Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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