Friday, March 22, 2013

Mark & Amy Sutherland’s “Being a Blue Angel”

I’m not exactly sure when the Blue Angels first appeared on my radar scope, but I know when I became a fan. From 1960 to 1961, the U.S. Navy’s flight demonstration squadron was the subject of a television drama.

I was 9. I watched it.

Every episode.

And the reruns.

To be a Blue Angel – now there was the almost perfect dream for a 9-year-old boy.

So to find a book on the Blue Angels aimed at children is to go back in time (just a bit) and remember. Being a Blue Angel: Every Kid’s Guide to the Blue Angels by Mark and Amy Sutherland tells the story of the squadron in words, photographs, and short letters from some of the Blue Angels themselves.

The book is not so much a history of the Blue Angels as it is an explanation of what it is to be a squadron member and what they actually do, often day to day. It’s cool flight demonstrations and air shows, yes. But it’s also outreach, communication, lots of travel, and lots of time away from home. And it’s not only those sleek jets they fly in air shows, but also a plane called the Fat Albert, a cargo aircraft that transports support staff and equipment to the shows. And ground crews, and support crews. And fans.

Fans like 9-year-old boys. And 9-year-old girls.

Being a Blue Angel is a delightful children’s book, and even allows a few adults to remember a time when they, too, wanted to perform intricate flying patterns in one of those jets.

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