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4.2 out of 5 stars14
4.2 out of 5 stars
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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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on 27 July 2005
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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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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on 6 January 2012
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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on 13 October 2013
A lovely tale of memory and hope. Endearing and in parts touching, with enough SciTech to make it a man-Read too!
Reminiscent of Sagan's "Contact"
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on 27 June 2005
Shelagh Watkins has created a tale of incredible breadth, beauty and detail. The knowledge and research that went into this fascinating tale leave one feeling quite humble. Here we have the story of Emmelisa and Dell the young heroes and their two main mentors, Mr. A Leon Spaceman and Cosmos the cat. This book is an absolute must as it quite uniquely manages to educate, entertain and instill strong moral values, all at the same time. The story moves at a tremendous pace and the only problem the reader will experience is knowing how and when to put the book down before the amazing conclusion. I look forward eagerly to more offerings from this remarkable author.
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on 31 July 2011
A charming children's tale. I found it dragged in places where computer descriptions were too detailed, but that is just a personal view, I know that it will be appreciated by some! I loved the ending; a couple of twists that took me by surprise. I think that this story would transfer well into film.
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on 3 September 2014
A strange book with lots of twists and turns. One minute Dad is making a plane. Then we visit Hardwareland. Then it's Christmas and were in space! You'll never guess the ending!
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on 14 July 2014
A good book for the younger people this would be better if it was in a more cartoon lay out with pictures to show the image a very creative book
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on 30 January 2015
5 Star Service, Great price, Excellent Read .. Excellent quick delivery
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