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“A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.”
Summary: Captain Arsenio is nothing if not persistent. He may not have been a successful cheese maker, or blacksmith, diver or ship's captain. But he IS going to learn how to fly. Except that physics, gravity, and animal instincts keep interfering with his experiments. Learn about the history of flying in this humorous look at aerodynamics.
Type of Reading: family reading, playtime reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 5 to 10; read yourself: 11 and Up
Interest Level: 5 to 10
Reading Level: 5.7
Age of Child: Started reading with child nearly 6 years old.
Young Reader Reaction: Our child selected this book at his/her school library and fell in love with the story. She loved to laugh at the different ways Captain Arsenio was going to master flying.
Adult Reader Reaction: This is a fun, but not-so-easy book to read. The experiments are clever, and the journal-style narrative adds great humor. We were surprised, though, that this was in the "easy" section of the school library. It seems like it would be better suited for second graders (and older).
Pros: There is something for adults and kids in this humorous look at aviation history.
Cons: The sidebars and notes at the bottom can get distracting, particularly if you have a child that wants to read every word on every page. It would have been nice to have a footnote explaining why the date July 20, 1969 is relevant (not just because someone discovered Captain Arsenio's journal).
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is definitely worth a read ... and a laugh or two.
Educational Themes: The journal-style presentation in the book offers a scientists' perspective on how experiments are done, and the events themselves offer you the chance to talk about theories and how science "works." It is also worth noting the adage "try and try again."