Written by Kathryn Gibbs Davis
Illustrated by Gilbert Ford
America was preparing for the Chicago World’s Fair for 1893, and anxious to surpass France’s Eiffel Tower. But what could possibly do that? A contest was announced and engineers began sketching all manner of tower’s and novelties.
George Ferris won the contest with his idea of a giant wheel that people would ride in closed rooms furnished with velvet chairs. While the contest sponsors liked his magnificent idea, they never thought it would work. In fact, they refused to help finance the project. They seemed to sit on the sidelines watching for it to fail. However, at the conclusion of the fair, they were so amazed by its overwhelming success, they decided to name the magnificence wheel after its creator.
Kathryn Gibbs Davis has written a fascinating account of this episode in American history, including quotes and facts. The illustrations by Gilbert Ford are realistic and magical at the same time capturing the environment that was the 1893 World’s Fair. The illustration of the fair at night is especially meaningful when readers learn that this introduction of electric lights at night gave L. Frank Baum his idea for the Emerald City in his Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Grade three readers, as well as those younger and older, will be interested in the first Ferris Wheel and amazed by its size.
Core curriculum standards of American history, science, geography, and literacy skills will be met by use of this book. It is an excellent example of combining a narrative with factual paragraphs. This book is an excellent addition to every nonfiction library.
- Title: Mr. Ferris and His Wheel
- Author: Kathryn Gibbs Davis
- Illustrator: Gilbert Ford
- Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014
- Reviewer: Elizabeth Swartz
- Format: Hardcover, 40 pages
- ISBN: 978-0-547-95922-1
- Genre: Nonfiction
- Grade level: K-3
- Extras: Endpapers include a Selected Bibliography, Quote Sources and related websites.