Book review: A Voyage in the Clouds : The (Mostly) True Story of the First International Flight by Balloon in 1785, by Matthew Olshan, illustrations by Sophie Blackall

Olshan, Matthew. A Voyage in the Clouds : The (Mostly) True Story of the First International Flight by Balloon in 1785. Illus. Sophie Blackall. Margaret Ferguson Books, 2016. Unp. $17.99. ISBN: 978-0-374-32954-9. Gr.1+. P8 Q8

In 1783, Dr. John Jeffries and Jean-Pierre Blanchard thought up the adventure of the first international manned balloon flight between the nations of France and England, which took place two years later in 1785.  As I read the book, the illustrations were what really stood out. Sophie Blackall used a combined graphic novel style, with panels done in black and white, along with full-page watercolor illustrations. The costumes and dress in the illustrations are appropriate to the time of the great balloon race. As the race commences across the English Channel the reader will experience the ride, too, as they laugh at some of the funny antics that the author includes.

Verdict: A great book to read aloud to children. I would follow it up with historical happenings of the time too.

April 2017 review by Carol Bernardi.

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