Flights of Fancy

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A book review of Flights of Fancy: Defying Gravity By Design & Evolution by Richard Dawkins

A book review of Flights of Fancy: Defying Gravity By Design & Evolution by Richard Dawkins

Stars: ****

Head of Zeus (2021)
294 pages

Disclosure: I received this book in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

Summary: The Wonder of Flight. The Science of Evolution. From both, Richard Dawkins weaves a fascinating and beautifully illustrated account of how nature and humans have learned to overcome the pull of gravity and take to the skies.

Do you sometimes dream you can fly like a bird? Gliding effortlessly above the treetops, soaring and swooping, playing and dodging through the third dimension. Computer games, virtual reality headsets, and some drugs can lift our imagination and fly us through fabled, magical spaces. But it’s not the real thing. No wonder some of the past’s greatest minds, including Leonardo da Vinci’s, have yearned for flying machines and struggled to design them.

Flights of Fancy is a book about flying – all the different ways of defying gravity that have been discovered by humans over the centuries and by other animals over the millions of years, from the mythical Icarus, to the sadly extinct but magnificent bird Argentavis magnificens, to the Wright Flyer and the 747. But it also means flights of digression into more general ideas and principles that take off from a discussion about actual flight.

Fascinating and elegantly written, this is a unique collaboration between one of the world’s leading zoologists and a talented artist, and perfect for enquiring teenage minds.

Flights of Fancy

I received this book for review a while back but never got around to it till now. No particular reason for that, just busy. However we are studying flight this month in our homeschool so I thought it was the perfect time for me to review the book.

This is a beautiful book about flight with colour illustrations. The book covers flight in animals as well as man-made contraptions.

Chapter headings are: Dreams of Flying, What is Flight Good For?, If Flying is So Great Why do some animals lose their wings?, Flying is easy if you are small, if you must be large and fly increase your surface area out of proportion, unpowered flight parachuting and gliding, powered flight and how it works, powered flight in animals, be lighter than air, weightlessness, aerial plankton, wings for plants, differences between evolved and designed flying machines, what is the use of half a wing, the outward urge beyond flying.

As you can see from the headings, different types of flight are discussed. I marked many pages to read from or show illustrations from during our flight unit. It’s a great resource for homeschooling but it’s also just plain interesting. I would never have thought to read a book about flight but I found it intriguing.

If you love learning about science including animals, this is a great book to learn about how animals and people fly.

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.