Violet the Pilot



Last updated Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Author: Steve Breen
Date of Publication: 2008
ISBN: 0803731256
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Nov. 2014

Synopsis: By the time she's two years old, Violet Van Winkle can fix nearly any appliance in the house. And by eight she's building elaborate flying machines from scratch--mind-boggling contraptions such as the Tubbubbler, the Bicycopter, and the Wing-a-ma-jig. The kids at school tease her, but they have no idea what she's capable of. Maybe she could earn their respect by winning the blue ribbon in the upcoming Air Show. Or maybe something even better will happen--something involving her best-ever invention, a Boy Scout troop in peril, and even the mayor himself!

Note to readers:
•  The inside cover has a diagram of Violet's plane. You can hide this from the kids at first & challenge them to identify parts from the book illustrations.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Who is flying the plane on the cover? Who is the co-pilot?
•  Does this look like a real plane? Does is look like it would fly?
•  Do you like to fly in planes? Would you like to be a pilot some day?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Have you ever helped fix things around the house?
•  Have you ever built or invented something? How about crafts? (using your imagination to create)
•  Why is it not nice to laugh at people for being different?
•  Who is Orville names after? (Orville Wright (1871-1948) was a United States aviation pioneer who (with his brother Wilbur Wright) invented the airplane.)
•  Do you think Violets planes would work?

Vocabulary:
•  genius - one with extraordinary intellectual and creative power
•  elaborate - Planned or executed with painstaking attention to numerous parts or details.
•  contraption - A mechanical device; a gadget.
•  engineering - The application of scientific and mathematical principles to practical ends such as the design, manufacture, and operation of efficient and economical structures, machines, processes, and systems.
•  themed - Involving a particular topic or motif. Often used in combination: a colonial-themed tourist attraction.
•  altitude - A high location or area.
•  appetite - A strong wish or urge: an appetite for learning.
•  jubilantly - Expressing joy.
•  valor - Courage and boldness; bravery.

Craft ideas:
•  Draw a diagram of something you would like to make, such as a tree house, car, boat. Use the inside cover for reference & add useful items, such as a telescope, bike horn and headlights.
•  Make a model plane using a clothespin or tube (paper towel or roll construction paper) for the body, Popsicle sticks for the wings & scrap paper or paper clips for a propeller. It's easier if they kids draw designs & color the parts before pasting together.

Special activities:
•  Make paper airplanes & have a race or "air show".

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!