Jumbo: The Making of the Boeing 747 by Chris Gall

Jumbo: The Making of the Boeing 747 by Chris Gall. Roaring Brook Press, 9781250155801, 2020

Format: Hardcover

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Genre: Nonfiction

What did you like about the book? This book has almost everything, without feeling like too much. There is some history of flight and the first planes, there is some physics (including gravity, lift, drag) and engineering concepts. There is a narrative to the book, telling the story of how the Boeing 747 was designed and built in the 1960s. The scientific descriptions are clear for elementary readers, often connecting to concepts like running or bike-riding, but at the same time do not oversimplify. There are many diagrams with labels explaining both scientific matters as well as labels for parts of the engines and planes. I appreciated seeing a young girl at the beginning of the book playing with a toy airplane, and readers follow her as she appears on many pages to demonstrate or show off specific elements. Female readers who may feel disconnected from other nonfiction vehicle books may feel more of a connection here. Both men and women with different skin colors appear as pilots, engineers, passengers, and onlookers (though there are more men as pilots and engineers and more women as flight attendants). Fun Facts, a Glossary, and Sources appear at the end for readers to learn more. The Author’s Note includes a fun surprise, briefly telling the story of how he built his own small airplane, including photographs. 

Anything you did not like about the book. Nothing

To whom would you recommend this book? Anyone interested in planes. Readers who like nonfiction and have enjoyed Gail Gibbons but are looking for books a bit newer and higher reading level. 

Who should buy this book? Elementary school librarians, public librarians

Where would you shelve it? Nonfiction (600s)

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Sarah Bickel, Greenlodge Elementary School, Dedham Massachusetts

Date of review: August 22, 2020

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