Monday, January 9, 2012

Who Lands Planes on a Ship: Working on an Aircraft Carrier by Linda Tagliaferro

It's easy to interest a child in non-fiction books if you pick books on topics the child is already curious about. Start by looking at their toys and imaginative play for cues.

My son received an Imaginext aircraft carrier for Christmas from Santa. He's spent hours and hours playing with the toy. Unfortunately, he's never seen a real aircraft carrier. He doesn't have prior knowledge as to what actual aircraft carrier looks like or the technical terms used for the parts of the ship. I recently headed to the library in search of aircraft carrier books that would help enhance his imaginative play. When I brought the books home from the library it was like Christmas all over again. My son was so excited to learn more about his favorite toy and now uses the knowledge he's gained from reading the books in his play. Here's one of the books we enjoyed reading together this past weekend.

Who Lands Planes on a Ship?: Working on an Aircraft Carrier (Wild Work Series) by Linda Tagliaferro. Raintree / Capstone (2011); ISBN 9781410938534; 32 pages
Book Source: Copy from public library

This book provides a basic overview on what is like to work on a Navy aircraft carrier and also includes several facts pertaining to aircraft carriers. Jobs briefly mentioned in the text include pilot, air boss, captain, catapult officer, aviation fuels, doctors, firefighters, and mechanics. In addition, parts of the aircraft carrier highlighted include flight deck, catapult, hangar deck, island and hospital. Large color photographs accompany the text and factual insets explain some of the photos. The Did you Know? fact sections scattered throughout the book also provide factual information. Definitions for the words in bold are provided in the glossary and the last page includes a book index.

There's a lot of information packed into this attractively designed book, and we now have a much better idea of what goes on in a Navy aircraft carrier. It was a pleasant surprise to find as much information about the ship itself as the occupations of those working aboard. Considering the title, it's too bad the book doesn't include more information about how pilots land planes on the ship. While the book gives a basic insight into the catapult system used to launch, the author only briefly mentions the "wires" that help stop the plane (also known as arresting cables) and it's very hard from the one picture provided to understand how the plane uses the cables to land.

Linda Tagliaferro provides a limited but good starting point for early readers (1st-3rd grade) interested in learning more about basic terms pertaining to aircraft carriers and about the occupations of workers on board. My daughter (who is in 1st grade) read the book without much difficulty and now wants to read more books in this Wild Work series. Preschoolers and kindergartners will enjoy listening to the book read aloud. (Note: One of the two resource websites mentioned in the back of the book is a dead link - too bad as we really wanted to view the coloring book!)

Some interesting facts we learned:

Airplanes stop and take-off in just two seconds
The carrier can hold as many as 80 planes
Around 5000 people live on an aircraft carrier
People that pump fuel are called "grapes" because they wear purple shirts
The officers on the flight deck use body signals to communicate (this was my son's favorite part of the book ... see below his interpretation of the launch signal)

Other New(ish) Books about Aircraft Carriers

Aircraft Carriers (Built for Battle) by Valerie Bodden; Creative Education (2012) ISBN 9781608181223; 24 Pages

Aircraft Carriers: runways at sea (Vehicles on the Move) by Lynn Peppas; Crabtree Publishing (2011); ISBN 9780778727477: 32 pages

Nugget on the Flight Deck by Patricia Newman, illustrated by Aaron Zenz; Walker Children's (October 2009); ISBN 9780802797353; 40 pages

Aircraft Carriers (Amazing Ships) by John Sutherland and Diane Canwell; Gareth Stevens (2007); ISBN 9780836883763

Aircraft Carrier Websites, Activities and Educational Resources:

The US Navy Aircraft Carriers
Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum Kids Zone
Intrepid Museum Aviation Vocabulary Sheet
NOVA Aircraft Carrier Moving Targets Classroom Activity
Intrepid Take Flight Classroom Activities (3-8 Grade)
LooLeeDo Construct Your Own Paper Airplane Carrier Aircraft Carrier Coloring Page

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Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

It's neat that you found a book to help your son find the words to enhance his play. I think you just taught him a very valuable lesson in research!

Kim Van Sickler said...

So great that you don't just provide the toy, but also the Knowledge for your son to optimize his enjoyment. Very cool! You are his first and best teacher.

Ticia said...

As I'm sure you can guess we check out a lot of books about police and military. I'll have to see if any of the ones you mentioned are at our library.

MotherReader said...

Very cool! I just read an article about math errors - though I'd call them design errors - that included a decent bit about aircraft carriers and how long it took people to figure out how to redesign them in a smart way. Here's the link (lots of Language, if kiddies are around):