Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Kite That Bridged Two Nations.

O’Neill, Alexis.  The Kite That Bridged Two Nations.  Boyd's Mills/Calkins Creek  2013  unp  $16.95   ISBN 978-1-59078-938-4  elem/ms  Nonfiction picture book  VG-BN  

Homan Walsh was a typical boy who preferred flying his kite to doing school work.  He was avoiding school work one day when he saw a poster for a kite-flying contest.  The prize was $10.00, which was a lot of money in 1847.  No one was surprised when Homan entered the contest to fly a kite that would land on the opposite side of the Niagara River, which divided the two nations.  Many kids entered the contest, but Homan was at an advantage because he knew the wind.  He decided that the best southwest wind came from Canada to the U.S. at a spot above the Whirlpool Rapids.  His kite string was used to pull back across the gorge a stronger line, then another, until Charles Ellet, Jr., strung the cable he used to build the first suspension bridge in the United States.
Terry Widener has created some beautiful illustrations that provide readers with insight and understanding of the harsh conditions and culture of the time period.  His use of acrylics creates a realistic effect, with clear crisp hues to support the story’s message.
Author notes, citations, bibliography, and source notes provide further information.

Summary: This is the story of how the building of the first suspension bridge in the U. S. was accomplished by stretching the first line across a gorge during a kite-flying contest.  In 1847, this created a connection between Canada and the United States at Niagara Falls.
Suspension bridges                                    --Linda McNeil

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