Sky Chasers

Chicken House/Scholastic/. Jun. 2019. 288p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781338285277.
Gr 4-8–It’s 1783 in France, and a thief named Magpie has been hired by Madam Delacroix to do a job: steal an antique box. It should be simple, but the house is not empty and the job gets botched. When she witnesses a prototype flying machine, Magpie becomes injured. Now the family that she tried to rob is helping take care of her, while Magpie is being blackmailed to attempt the burglary again or else. Madam Delacroix is willing to do anything it takes for Magpie to cooperate and finish the job. This is an excellent historical fiction novel based on the events leading to the flight of the first hot air balloon over Paris. There is enough action and mystery to keep readers turning pages, with cliff-hanger chapters perfect for read-alouds. The historical elements lend an educational aspect to the adventure, and an author’s note provides information about the actual event for those interested in learning more.
VERDICT A great addition to middle grade historical fiction collections, or for classes studying 18th-century France. Don’t let this one fly away.

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