George Ferris’ Grand Idea: The Ferris Wheel
Series: The Story Behind the Name
Written by Jenna Glatzer
Illustrated by Stephanie Dominguez
Picture Window Books 10/01/2015
32 pages Age 7—10
“You’ve heard of a Ferris wheel (you’ve probably even ridden one!), but do you know who designed the first one? Who had the idea? And how did that idea turn into the amusement park ride the world knows today? Let’s go back to Chicago, Illinois, in the late 1800s and get the story behind the name.” [back cover]
George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. liked to think while sitting in front of a big waterwheel. Do you suppose he got the idea for his Ferris wheel from watching that waterwheel? He was a kid then. The adult Ferris was a civil engineer who built tunnels and bridges. When the call went out for something “novel, original, daring, and unique” for the World’s Fair in Chicago, Ferris had an idea. Whatever it was, the main attraction had to be as good as, or better than the main attraction at the World’s Fair in Paris. Paris had the Eiffel Tower.
George Ferris took on the challenge. His idea involved a two giant wheels supporting large gondolas high up in the air and rotating slowly so riders could get a great view of the World’s Fair. Ferris’ boss felt the design would collapse and people would be afraid to ride. No matter what happened (funding, frozen ground, quicksand, or deadlines) Ferris never gave up. His commitment and his drive were the forces behind the “Observation Wheel.” But when his wheel, now called the Ferris Wheel, finally opened people were afraid. Ferris’ wife took the first ride, lasting twenty minutes for two revolutions. By the last day of the fair, 1.5 million people had ridden the Ferris wheel.
Glatzer does an excellent job of bringing the Ferris wheel—and its creator—to life. She weaves into the story fact upon fact until the Ferris wheel rises high into the Chicago sky. The image of George, sitting on the bank of a river watching a waterwheel turn, instantly grabbed my attention. One never knows how today will influence tomorrow. Dominguez’s use of brown brings the reader into the corporate world of the 1800s. Her exacting illustrations, relying on fluent lines and circles brings the Ferris wheel to life. Kids, actually anyone, who loves this amusement ride or biographies of brilliant men and women will love George Ferris’ Grand Idea: The Ferris Wheel (one of four The Story Behind the Name titles).
George Ferris thought big when developing his wheel. With perseverance and perspiration, he made his grand idea a reality. Unfortunately, Ferris dismantled the original Ferris wheel. Seeing this behemoth of a ride in person would have been fascinating.
GEORGE FERRIS’ GRAND IDEA: THE FERRIS WHEEL. Text copyright © 2016 by Jenna Glatzer. Illustrations copyright © 2016 by Stephanie Dominguez. Reproduce by permission of the publisher, Picture Book Windows, North Mankato, MN.
Learn more about George Ferris’ Grand Idea: The Ferris Wheel HERE.
Meet the author, Jenna Glatzer, at her website: http://jennaglatzer.com/
Blog Facebook Twitter @GhostwriterJG
Meet the illustrator, Stephanie Dominguez, at her website: http://stephaniedominguezart.tumblr.com/
Blog Facebook Twitter @SDominguezArt
Find more books at the Capstone Young Readers website: http://www.capstonepub.com/
Blog Facebook Twitter @CapstoneYR
. . Picture Window Books is an imprint of Capstone.
Series: The Story Behind the Name
John Deere’s Powerful Idea: The Perfect Plow
Milton Hershey’s Sweet Idea: A Chocolate Kingdom (release date 2016)
Gustave Eiffel’s Spectacular Idea: The Eiffel Tower (release date 2016)
Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
Full Disclosure: George Ferris’ Grand Idea: The Ferris Wheel by Jenna Glatzer & Stephanie Dominguez, and received from Picture Window Books (an imprint of Capstone), is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
GEORGE FERRIS’ GRAND IDEA: THE FERRIS WHEEL by Jenna Glatzer. Illustrations © 2016 by Stephanie Dominguez. Used by permission of Picture Window Books.