I’ve been booktalking this book since it came out. I thought I knew it. I’ve sold it to all sorts of reluctant readers, my nephew being one of them. I think I did an okay job selling the book as most come back and ask for more… but I’d never read it. Oops. Well, I just finished it. Not what I thought it or imagined it. Nope. Good? Yes. What I thought it was? Nope. One more thing: Jimmy Zimmerman has a handmade titanium skateboard. It’s tougher than wood and fiberglass. This is an important element in our story.
Jimmy and his friends David and Henry (aka the Woodpushers) love to skateboard. They’re on their way to the X-Games in California. Unsupervised. Jimmy’s younger sister Julia, is also on the plane and she’s reading Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. Also on board are little old ladies on their way to a knitting convention. Everyone is enjoying the flight: Arcadia, the flight attendant, and Mrs. Hershel, a spirited 80 year old knitter. Then a commotion in the cabin proves to be a hijacking of the plane — and the killing of a flight attendant! They are in serious danger!
Someone has to do something… it’s the Woodpushers or no one. So the three boys storm the cabin and take out the hostages. Henry, who has seemingly taken at least one class on just about everything, crash lands the plane and Jimmy blacks out. When he awakens, he discovers that 1) he’s not dead, 2) his friends, sister, Arcadia, and Mrs. Herschel are also alive, 3) they don’t know where they are.
Julia proves to be the one with survival instincts. She directs the group in water-gathering, shelter building, and safety in general. Without Julia, the group wouldn’t have survived a month. Their rescue by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police makes for a neat ending. And, thank heavens for that titanium skateboard.
This is not the book I booktalked over and over and over again. It’s a fun read, but it isn’t the read I imagined it to be before I actually read. There’s a lesson in there somewhere. I still plan on recommending it. I enjoyed it. (And I’ll still pair it with Hatchet!)
Getting Air by Dan Gutman has 232 pages and is recommended for 5th to 7th graders. sh 4/12
This is my ultimate fantasy …
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