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Violet the Pilot: 04/25/12

cover art

While I was waiting for my son to pick out his books at the library, I sat in one of the comfy over stuffed chairs in the children's wing of the library. I was reading a Babymouse graphic novel at the time when I saw on display near me Violet the Pilot by Steve Breen.

I was immediately taken with the cover. It shows a girl flying something that looks like it started as a soapbox derby car. It's a crate, some wheels, wings made out of the sides of a barrel and a surfboard for a tail. She's wearing goggles and blowing bubble gum bubbles as if flying in a contraption is the most normal thing to do.

Violet, the book explains, doesn't play with dolls. Instead she likes to tinker. As a toddler she took things apart. As an older child she started modifying things (like putting the lawn mower engine on the back of her brother's tricycle. But it was flying that really caught her passion. Soon she was building all manners of flying machines out of the odds and ends she scrounged in the family-run city junkyard.

Her goal is enter one of her planes in show. She puts a ton of work into designing, building and flying the plane to the show. But things get in her way and those unexpected events are where she truly shines as a character. Besides being a fantastic engineer, she's also a hero.

Five stars.

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