04 March 2011

Amelia Lost; Candace Fleming

Amelia LostAmelia Lost by Candace Fleming

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Once again, I'm left wishing that I could give a book 4.5 stars.

Of course I've heard of Amelia Earhart (who hasn't?) but beyond her being the first female aviator to do a bunch of things and her getting lost, I didn't know much. Learning her backstory - growing up moving every few years, a period in which she lived with her grandmother, times of affluence and of poverty, and living with an alcoholic father - gave me a greater understanding of why she might have been so driven. The relationship she had (professionally and personally) with George Putnam, who helped finance and publicize her travels, didn't hurt.

It was also clear that she was a real daredevil, and didn't prepare terribly well. For example, early on she flew a plane without checking fuel levels! Her final voyage's ending might have been avoided had she learned to use the radio (apparently she had one hour's training because she was too busy to get more).

The design of the book will appeal to middle school readers: the story of the search for her plane (and her) is interspersed with the her story, and lots of photos and documents. More photos of the types of planes she flew would have been interesting, and a timeline helpful . It was also unclear why there wasn't more discussion of where she might have landed (just go online and there are many sites and stories about her bones being found, or possibly found). Additionally, one of the people who heard Amelia's final broadcasts apparently heard her give a latitude/longitude - why wasn't that explored further in the book as a final resting place? Hence my desire for a 4.5 rating.

ARC provided by publisher.

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