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Review of The Airport Book

brown_airport bookstar2 The Airport Book
by Lisa Brown; illus. by the author
Primary    Porter/Roaring Brook    40 pp.
5/16    978-1-62672-091-6    $17.99

As an (interracial) family of four scrambles to leave its city apartment for the airport, readers get used to the book’s approach: as narrated by the older brother, a straightforward but lively main text provides basic information (“When you go to the airport, you can take a car, a van, a bus, or even a train…When you reach your gate, you wait. And wait and wait and wait…You buckle your seatbelt tight across your lap”) while dialogue bubbles and the pictures tell a much more complex — and wildly entertaining — story. Brown’s simultaneously clean and detailed India ink and watercolor pictures follow dozens of characters who are all traveling on the same flight as our central family: a businesswoman on a cell phone (“blah blah blah blah”); a girls’ soccer team; an anxious elderly couple (“I hope you have the boarding passes”); a woman in a wheelchair; a man traveling alone with a (mostly unhappy) infant. There is even a subplot involving Monkey, the little sister’s lost stuffed animal, executed brilliantly in the illustrations. Following each story strand to the end is rewarding, and Brown often subverts expectations or injects humor. For instance, the annoying cell-phone woman turns out to have been flying home to her small son; the baby who cried the whole 
flight stops as soon as the plane lands. (Fortunately — and miraculously — Monkey arrives safely.) Cameos by Amelia Earhart and the Wright brothers add even more amusement. This is one of those books you could look at forever and never run out of new things to notice, smile at, and fold into the next reading. Sky-high in concept, execution, and kid appeal; the only airport book you’ll ever need.

From the May/June 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Martha V. Parravano About Martha V. Parravano

Martha V. Parravano is book review editor of The Horn Book, Inc., and co-author of the Calling Caldecott blog.



  1. Ashley Wolff says:

    I was privileged to follow the conception and execution of this fine book from the beginning, and I can report that just as much thought, love and effort went into it as you see. The Airport Book satisfies on all levels.

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