Flying Circus Takes to the Skies by Leona Cobham is a well-crafted, action-packed story that will entice children — adults will find delight in the richly imagined characters as well. Four airplanes, four friends, each of them unique and vested with singular skills! F-14 Tomcat has the extraordinary ability to break sound barrier. F-15 Eagle tricks him and he forgets to refuel, hence ruining his dream of winning the race to Australia. Tom gets help from the most unlikely airplane, Woody. Woody suffers from low self-esteem and believes every other airplane is better than he is, but a courageous act from makes a huge difference and reveals more about his personality. Vul the Vulcan, Spif the Spitfire, Woody the Tiger Moth and Tom the F14 are a team that are tasked with transporting endangered species. How will they do it? Meeting Antonov, the heaviest, longest, and widest airplane ever built, who is now in need of repairs ushers the four friends into another difficult mission.
Leona Cobham has written a mesmerizing tale, bringing to life intelligently imagined and perfectly accomplished characters for young readers. Each of the characters feels lacking in something. Although they are different, they have to learn to complement each other. It is in this perspective that the author defines friendship for the reader. The characters are genuinely flawed and believable. Vul, the Avro Vulcan is an easy-going, confident airplane with a troubled past. Woody will need more encouragement to uncover his hidden strengths. A conversation between Vul and Woody shows Woody's simplicity and Vul's strong sense of loneliness: “There aren’t any Vulcans left apart from me.” The only thing that drives Tom is his need for speed, but as he undertakes a mission with others, he begins to re-evaluate his values, putting teamwork above other things. Flying Circus Takes to the Skies features excellent prose and language that is suitable for young readers. The glossary at the end of the book provides more understanding of terms related to aeronautics. I enjoyed the adventure, the fascinating characters, and the gorgeous writing. The exceptional use of anthropomorphism renders the story relatable and the characters lovable.