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Mr. Planemaker's Flying Machine

Mr. Planemaker's Flying Machine [Kindle Edition]

Shelagh Watkins
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Dell and Emmelisa Planemaker are two ordinary children who lead uneventful lives in a small town in Lancashire until they discover a unique computer that takes them on an extraordinary journey. They are guided by a strange-looking man from a far-off distant planet who helps them to undergo a tough space mission: to follow their father's Trail of Light.

Review by John C. Brown, Astronomer Royal for Scotland:

Except for those with a phobia, flying has always been the stuff of dreams among all ages and, in this age of technological wonders, flying in space has become an integral part of this dreamland. As well as being the stuff of daring do, flying is full of mystery and laden with symbolic escapism, lifting us above the daily grind of adulthood and the growing fears of childhood, and human pettinesses, from gossip to bullying, which detracts all age groups from the joy of living.

In Mr. Planemaker's Flying Machine, Shelagh Watkins takes us on a flight of fancy, both metaphorical and literal, through these dreams, fears and joys. We are taken rolling and looping in skies through clouds of bereavement, sibling antagonism, and human spitefulness, into a brighter but mysterious world of computer systems, then onward and upward into the heavens and among the planets themselves. Closure of the stormy sky issues, through which child heroes Emmelisa and Dell have struggled, is eventually approached in the final pursuit of Mr. Planemaker's physics-defying Trail of Light, during which we are constantly surprised.

While all this may sound a bit heavy for kids to read or for a bed-time story, and while it is thought provoking for adults, the yarn is a compulsive tale for kids, spun around daily routines and banalities mixed with fantasy elements and outrageous characters. The unashamedly corny names for the latter will bring a chuckle even to the sworn pun-hater like me. Who has not known a school brat like Mayja Troublemaker and someone with as little spark as her uncle Verry Boringman?

The escape route from these pains in the neck emerges gradually via a series of encounters, first at a strange house being worked on by Anne R Keytect, Bill Dare, Joy Nair and Dek Orator of Dream Homes Inc, then on to Whiz Kid Computer Maintenance in Virtual Realty. Mr. Wizard Kidd leads us further into Hardwareland where many of the workings of computer operating systems are revealed to us with greater insight than many a manual, though in this case the user interface smacks more of magic than of a keyboard.

In the CPU building things rapidly progress toward the (virtual) reality of the Planemaker's Flying Machine PH1. Then, at an ever increasing rate we head with Emmelisa for space itself, with the help of valet Sue Tassistant, coordinator Mish Oncontrol, and master pilot/instructor Astrow Naught. Thereafter, on a solar system tour, some of the strands of the story are tied up, in ways readers must find for themselves or I will spoil the climax.

So, in the end, what does it all mean? I am not sure that I know, or even that Shelagh Watkins does, though surely Cosmos Planemaker the magical family cat knows, if anyone does. What I do know is that this is a refreshing and unusual kids' story which I, as a hard-nosed scientist — albeit with magic as a hobby — had to read to the end, and that it will likewise enthrall children readers and bed-time story tellers alike. So buy it, lie back, and enjoy it with, or even without the kids.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2137 KB
  • Print Length: 197 pages
  • Publisher: Mandinam Press (13 Jan 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0046REN9M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,149 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Shelagh Watkins is writer, editor and publisher at Mandinam Press. Her first novel, Mr. Planemaker's Flying Machine, was serialised on Preston FM community radio in 2009. The sequel, Mr. Planemaker's Diving Machine, was published in 2011. Shelagh's second novel, The Power of Persuasion, was published in 2008. The same year, she edited and published Forever Friends, an anthology of short stories and poems written by members of A follow-up anthology, Forever Travels, was published in 2010. A third anthology, Forever Families, was published in 2012.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful 13 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book had been on my Kindle for a long, long time because, as a reviewer as well as an author, my reading list is vast. However, I wish now that I'd read it sooner...absolutely wonderful! It's different in many ways, not least how it explores themes such as death and bullying and how children cope with such horrors, yet within the fabulous mix of reality and magic.

I know it was meant for children, nevertheless, I think adults could learn valuable lessons by reading this book. It is written very well, a fast-paced easy style, yet deceptively clever - and the author took pains not to 'talk down' to this age of which I found delightfully 'adult' yet keeping the target audience in mind, as if melding the two...something of which 'grown ups' should take note and listen to their young.

Not wanting to give spoilers, I will say that this story is unique in the telling, dealing with extremely important topics - a wonderful fantasy, filled with wondrous ideas.

Highly recommended for both young and older.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great, spell-binding read 27 July 2005
By A Customer
Mr Planemaker's Flying Machine by Shelagh Watkins
Anyone who has ever harboured a desire to become an astronaut ought to read this wonderful book and climb aboard the space mission.
Emmelisa and Dell are the first kids to venture into space.
After tinkering with an old computer and encountering some mysterious characters, they are catapulted into this intriguing adventure, in which they train to become astronauts. Then they embark on an exciting voyage to follow their father's trail of light.
The story is spell-binding, compelling and magical. The plot is unusual, clever and well thought out.
I was very impressed with the author's research and knowledge of her subject and her use of technical terms, which will educate her readers. She also has great emotional insight, as the children have to deal with great changes in their lives, but it leaves them stronger and the story ends on a note of hope.
This talented new author is a welcome find. She pays great attention to detail and her pages are alight with adventure.
I highly recommend this inspiring and most original novel.
Sabine Muir
author of 'Matthew and the Highland Rescue'
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Touching and sensitively written 1 Aug 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Emmelisa and Dell Planemaker discover their father's old computer which leads them on to an adventure in Hardware Land and a flight into space to follow their father's "Trail of Light".

This is quite a long story for a children's book and sensitively covers subjects including the death of a parent, school bullying and growing up in general.

The description of Hardware Land where the children are taken to the inside of a computer is technically rather good, but even though the book was only first published five years ago some parts feel slightly dated (especially using a dial up modem to access the internet). That is always a risk when writing about cutting edge technology in any detail - it doesn't remain cutting edge for very long.

The space mission the children embark on is written in much more general, but still nicely researched terms.

I would suggest that this would be a good book to read to or with children rather than one for them to read alone, as several of the subjects covered are very likely to encourage the child to ask lots of questions, or even to relate their own experiences relating to that section of the book.

Overall: 4 stars - A touching, sensitively written and enjoyable read that should capture the imagination of younger school age children
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Whole New World 6 Jan 2012
By Judder
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I had heard great things about this book which was the main reason I had picked it up and decided to read it. It is written as a childrens book but it is also very enjoyable for those of us who are still young at heart.

Right from the beginning of the story I felt I was part of the family and I instantly cared for them. The writer really draws you in to the lives of the 2 children and teh father while keeping the mother almost distant but still in the forefront so it is obvious that although she features a lot in the beginning she is not going to be a main character throughout. As the story progressed I thought I had it figured out and knew what was coming next but I was wrong, something happens (I don't want to say for spoilers) that made me wonder where on earth Shelagh was taking us! Never would I have imagined that the children would be transported into "Hardware Land" a place where the time moves faster than in the real world (like going in to Narnia) so they can spend months there training for a special mission, which ultimately helps them deal with their problems back home, without their mother ever knowing. It's a wonderful story with morals and life lessons perfect for children. My personal favourite's from the story were the characters names and the little quotes at the top of each chapter.

There is so much I could say about this book, it is very well written, it is marvelously imaginative, extremely enjoyable and lots of fun :o). I recommend this book to anyone who wants to be a child again!

I can't wait to read the sequel Mr. Planemaker's Diving Machine
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