Mr. Ferris and His Wheelby Kathryn Gibbs Davis (Author), Gilbert Ford (Illustrator)
Yes, it sure is.. a picture book biography of Mr Ferris, the man who built the world’s first Ferris Wheel! How did it come to be? Read on..
In 1889, the World Fair visitors in Paris, France was dazzled by Mr Eiffel’s Eiffel Tower. Brilliant and breathtaking, the world’s tallest building stood 81 stories high and boasted views of the entire charming city of Paris. Four years later, the World Fair is scheduled to be held in Chicago, USA. Now its America’s turn to “impress the world”.
A nationwide contest is held. Who can build an impressive structure? Who can outshine the famous French tower?
Drawings poured in. But sadly many of the popular ones were simply Eiffel tower “look-alike’s”. Was this the best American engineers could do? An ambitious American mechanical engineer had his eye on the contest. To him this was a dare! He had spent his career building the country’s bigger bridges, tunnels, roads. George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. certainly had ideas for a structure that would dazzle and MOVE!
Sadly when George made his case to the chiefs of the fair, his ideas were tossed. No one believed that his structure could stand! “Its too flimsy” they complained. But George knew that he could do it. Somehow he convinced the judges to allow him to build his structure. Although they agreed (reluctantly), no one was ready to fund him! Geroge did not give up and managed to break ground on Jan 1893.
Geroge faces many challenges, people scorn him, they ridicule his ideas. However, George persists and goes on to display his creation.
This is a very successful picture book biography. Author Davis’ writing is engaging and exciting. It almost feels like a page turner. Along with the story line, Davis also puts in snippets of information giving additional details to the readers. When I read this aloud in school, I was excited by so many personal connections that the kids made whilst listening to the story.
As you can see, the illustrations are brilliant! Rich, deep colors captures the mood of the story. The strong line art and hand drawn characters add a certain charm and realism and makes it very interesting to read and see.
Overall, a well done conversation starter, picture book biography!