Book Review: The Fantastic Ferris Wheel

September 22, 2016

The Fantastic Ferris Wheel: The Story of Inventor George Ferris by Betsy Harvey Kraft
From Miss Mary at Main Library

The World’s Fair in Chicago known as the Columbian Exposition of 1893 was fast approaching and the planners wanted something so spectacular to be constructed to rival the Eiffel Tower, which was built 3 years earlier for the World’s Fair in Paris, France.  As the plans for the fair were being made, one man, George Ferris, had an idea.  He wanted to build a giant observation wheel with 36 passenger cars, each holding 60 people.  The wheel would be 264 feet high, as high as a 26 story building and be powered by two 1,000 horsepower steam engines.  The planners called it a “monstrosity” and told him to forget the idea.  George persisted and was finally given permission to build this amazing wheel. 

Against all odds, the Ferris Wheel was the hit of the fair and George Ferris’s idea proved to the world that big dreams could pay off with hard work and careful planning.  Today the wheel that got its start in Chicago back in 1893 is known throughout the world as the Ferris Wheel.

Picture book biographies such as this appeal to a wide range of readers.  The art work is amazing and captures just how enormous the wheel really was.  The illustrations truly capture the feel of life in late 19th century Chicago.  Children wanting biographies that both entertain and educate will enjoy The Fantastic Ferris Wheel.  It is also a recommended addition to any STEM curriculum encouraging children to build and design inventions of their own. 

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