Wednesday, October 28, 2009


By John Abbott Nez
P.G.Putnam’s Sons
Illustrated 31 pages

Since the Wright brothers first took to the air, the history of aviation in America has revolved around unique individuals. All of them possessed indomitable courage which gave them the impetus to reach for the clouds and the annals of flight are filled with their names and exploits from Amelia Earhart to Charles Lindbergh.

Recently all of us were duped by a balloon-boy hoax that was cooked up by a warped, celebrity craving couple from Colorado. No sooner was this story plastered all over the news, then I received this marvelous book about the “real” balloon boy, Cromwell Dixon.
It is a beautiful illustrated children’s book that relates how, in 1907, a fourteen year old Cromwell, in wanting to emulate his flying heroes, decided to build a flying bicycle and ride it in competition over the streets of Columbus, Ohio.

After a few setbacks, to include a disastrous fire that destroyed his first lighter-than-air balloon, Cromwell, with the loving support of his mother, finally triumphed. He actually affixed a modified bicycle to a giant balloon and flew it. So successful was he that eventually the newspapers tagged him, “America’s Boy Aeronaut.” Now, thanks to the extremely talented John Abbott Nez, who has over fifty children’s books to his credit, this long forgotten story of Cromwell Dixon is finally retold. There is even a photo of Cromwell and his mother in their garage in the book’s special epilogue.

Everything in this marvelous adventure book is true. If you’ve any young readers in your family eager to experience the early years of flight through the eyes of one of their own, you should pick up a copy of this book. It is truly inspiring.

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