Sunday, April 26, 2015

Module 10 Historical Fiction: Amelia and Eleanor go for a Ride

Amelia and Eleanor Go For a Ride

Bibliographic Information
Ryan, P. M. (1999). Amelia and Eleanor go for a ride. New York: Scholastic Press. 

This is the story of the unique friendship between Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt.  Both women were independent, adventurous spirits ahead of their time.  One evening Amelia and her husband are invited to join Eleanor at the White House for dinner.  Over dinner the two friends begin talking about flying, and Eleanor asks what it is like to fly at night.  Amelia immediately offers to leave dinner and take Eleanor on a ride over Washington, and off they go.  They fly for a while, enjoying the wonder of the city lights far below.  The story fittingly ends with the women headed off another adventure, this time with Eleanor at the wheel of her new car, driving off into the dark night with Amelia by her side. 

I found this book to be inspiring and full of a sense of adventure.  I think it accurately presents the two main characters as strong women who weren't afraid to think for themselves and act in a way that wasn't the norm for the time.  With that being said, it is a thoroughly enjoyable picture book in its own right, telling a tale of two friends having fun together.  The black and white sketches are a perfect match with the text and add to the sense of wonder and excitement on each page.  The double-page spread of Washington, D.C. lit up at night is breathtaking.  The author's note at the end provides readers with interesting facts about the two women and the real events that inspired the story. 

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 I 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. 

Review Reference
Engelfried, S. (1999, September). [Review of Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride,
     by P. M. Ryan]. School Library Journal. Retrieved from

Library Use
~ This book would be great when studying famous women in history.
~ It could also be used to teach the historical fiction genre.
~ The illustrations could also be the focus of a lesson, discussing how the black and white pictures compliment and lend voice to the story.

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