Title: Violet the Pilot
Author and Illustrator: Steve Breen
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Flesch-Kinkaid Grade Level: 5.9
Concepts: human resources, capital resources, innovation, women in science
Review: Violet, a mechanical genius, could repair almost any appliance by the time she was two. At age eight she started to build elaborate flying contraptions from spare parts and machinery that she salvaged from the family business, a junkyard next door. Accompanied by her faithful and fearless dog (aptly named Orville), Violet flies the local skies in her innovative flying machines. She reads Popular Science Monthly for new ideas and dreams about winning a prize at the upcoming air show. Perhaps a blue ribbon would end the relentless teasing from the children at school and garner her some newfound respect. En route to the air show, Violet uses her latest flying invention to become a hero in an entirely unexpected way.
This book is superb. With its gifted female protagonist and clever storyline, Violet the Pilot packs a powerful punch with lessons about innovation, human resources, and women in science. Steve Breen’s delightful illustrations are marked by a sense of humor, expressive facial features, and skillful attention to detail (witness the posters of Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart in Violet’s bedroom). The blend of entertainment, emotional fluctuations, and substantive content make this book an utterly satisfying read for children and adults alike.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children