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Violet the Pilot

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  839 ratings  ·  134 reviews
By the time she's two years old, Violet Van Winkle can fix nearly any appliance in the house. And by eight she's building elaborate flying machines from scratch, mind-boggling contraptions such as the Tubbubbler, the Bicycopter, and the Wing-a-ma-jig. The kids at school tease her, but they have no idea what she's capable of. Maybe she could earn their respect by winning th ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published March 13th 2008 by Dial Books
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Average rating 4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  839 ratings  ·  134 reviews

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Adam M
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
You know what, I'm taking credit for this. Normally, I wouldn't, but I brought it home from the library for Violet and she made me read it to her 3 times in 16 hours. I think I earned it. (also, it's a positive story about a little girl who likes to build and invent. I highly recommend it) ...more
Clay Davis
May 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Enjoyed the online reading by Dolly Parton.
Jun 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
(The five-star rating is from Andy; the following review is by Sarah.)

I actually kind of like this book, although the plot itself is pretty formulaic. (The Dumbo formula, to be specific.) There are a couple problems, like the fact that other kids make fun of Violet for being different seems kind of tacked on. That is, it's essential to the formula, but it's mentioned almost as an aside. On the other hand, I am glad that the author didn't dwell on the teasing, because I certainly don't want Andy
Dec 07, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2017-charlotte
I'm going to go against the grain with my review- I really didn't like this book. It starts out "she was weird! Unlike other girls because she liked to build things and wasn't interested in dolls and tea!" (soooo weird for girls...) "she didn't have friends.... boys called her names...." All because she didn't conform to outdated gender norms. Moral of the story is that she stuck to what she loved, worked to help people and withstood being a social pariah until she went above and beyond to prove ...more
This is a wonderful book with great illustrations about a little girl who builds flying machines and the adventures she has with her dog Orville. My son loved it, too. I loved it because she rescued a troop of Boy Scouts! Pair this with "Rosie Revere, Engineer" for a great gift. ...more
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: female-aviators

Cute story about a little girl named Violet, who's a self-taught pilot and aircraft engineer. There was a bit of the "not like other girls" trope in which Violet is teased for being different and not playing with dolls and tea sets, which I didn't love 100%. I was also confused when the ending implied that she won her parents' approval, but they seemed be pretty supportive throughout the book. Still, overall a fun and inspiring book, and I appreciated the representation of a girl interested i
Stacy  Natal
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Violet the imaginative, talented, out of the box thinker ends up saving a bunch of boyscouts with her self made plane and finally gets respect from her classmates. The plot is formulaic, but the kids that I read it to LOVED it. One was itching to find a local junkyard to get started on his own inventions. Fantastic illustrations!
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a fun children's book. My granddaughter enjoyed reading this to her little brother. ...more
Andrew Tomchik
Apr 19, 2020 rated it did not like it
If you are looking for a book that will inspire your daughter in STEM fields, then this book is not for you. If anything, this book will discourage girls from learning more about science and engineering. There a few key reasons for this which I will detail below.

1. Violet has super-human intelligence that your child does not have. By the age of 2, Violet could fix "any" appliance. No child is that smart. And if anything, this will reinforce to your daughter that she is not smart enough for engin
Aug 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Violet is a mechanical genius and by the time she turned 8, she was building flying machines like the Tub-bubbler, the Bicycopter, the Rocket Can and others. Of course the kids at school hassle Violet because she's different ("Claude and Clyde Mulrooney were especially obnoxious.") Violet hopes that participating in the 14th Annual Air Show will earn her some friends at school. But, she gets sidetracked on the way to the air show ... deciding helping boy scouts in need was more important.

I love
Stephanie Fujii
Mike bought this for Amaya at the Air and Space Smithsonian last week - a good pick! A sweet story about a smart girl who is creative, curious and kind. Triple threat. She builds her own planes and saves lives! Great illustrations, too!
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Little girl builds her own airplane, saves boy scouts, was bullied in school, but is now a hero.
Owesha Henry
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ok there isn't anything that I don't like about this story. Violet the Pilot is a fictional book about a girl Violet Van Winkle who from a very early age could take apart things and reassemble them. At the age of eight she was building elaborate flying machines from scratch. Kids from school would make fun of her because she had no friends and would sit alone reading books. One day she sees a poster on a store window for an air show and decides she wanted to be apart of it. She couldn't wait to ...more
Ali Book&Seaglasshunter
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: pb-read-2020
This one was just ok to me.
Violet is a young girl and an engineering prodigy, specifically interested in aviation. Although she is teased and discouraged by others she sticks to her passions and is successful. I liked those aspects of the book, but I feel like these overarching themes were lost in the rest of the story. Rather than sticking those themes to a character who is relatable to children, Violet is totally unrealistic. She can fix another at the age where most kids are trying to figure
Jun 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another wonderful picture book for girls (and boys!) everywhere - Violet is quite the empowering young lady! While her classmates make fun of her, she works hard and aspires to build a plane worthy of competition. But when her plans don't quite work out (in, I must admit, a very sudden plot turn that was a bit jarring to the flow of the story) she learns a few great lessons: helping others is always more important, and great accomplishments are always rewarded! I absolutely loved the added humor ...more
Eric Rock
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: csr
Why does Violet have to be an outlier to pursue her passion? Why must she be alone and persecuted? I don't see where the author develops any characters that Violet depends on for approval. She never seem to be impacted. Why are the classmates in the book at all? Violet doesn't interact or even acknowledge their opinions. This book was as good as the majority seems to think when I edited about 8-10 mean words. For those who applaud the "girl overcomes bullies", I don't see where Violet cares abou ...more
Emily Krafcik
This story is excellent for so many reason! Violet being a female pilot is one. This can empower young girls to do anything they set their minds to no matter if they are a boy or a girl, or even a young age. In addition, this story celebrates differences, but still gives a taste of the negative things that may happen for being different, like the bullying from the twin boys. Certainly the boy scout troop needing rescuing were not negative towards Violet's abilities and ingenuity! I think what is ...more
Freddie D
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: feminist, stem
There is so much to love about this book. The narrative is satisfying and entertaining, the illustrations are lovely and I'm all for books that celebrate pursuits in STEM, especially for young girls. I especially loved the blueprint-style diagrams at the end and the way the book encourages and inspires inventive upcycling projects. However, it falls just short of a five star rating. Perhaps I'm reading into it too much but the line " while other girls liked playing with dolls and tea sets" reall ...more
Jul 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Add this one to your Girl Power book basket because it's a keeper! Violet send the message that you can do what you like - taking things apart, putting them back together and building things that can fly - and be successful. Just do it. She is a bit of a loner with a mind of her own and will ring true to many young people out there. The illustrations are fantastic - actually that is what drew me to the book in the first place. Violet is a pretty cool kid - she even gets bugs in her teeth! ...more
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Why would I write review for a children's book? It's because Violet the Pilot is a fantastic.

There's the story, first of all. It's empowering without being in your face about it.

Then, there's Violet herself! Such a loveable character! And who can forget her adorable dog, Orville?

The illustrations are also lovely. They appear simple at first, but there's so much detail hidden on each page.

It's whimsical, charming, and empowering! Such a great book for kids (and adults alike!)
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books to read to my daughter. Granted, that may be because her name is Violet, and she may own a pilot's cap, but I like to think it's because Violet the Pilot is a great story about a little girl is intelligent, inventive and brave. Highly recommended to read to boys and girls alike. ...more
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book. THIS BOOK. My goodness, not only did this book have an AMAZING message, but it made me LAUGH so much. This book is the embodiment of empowerment. This book shows that no matter who you are, you will face adversity and you can absolutely overcome it. You should always do what you think is right. Perseverance and faith in yourself is what you need! BE WHO YOU WERE MEANT TO BE!!
This book is more than a story about a girl who loves to fly, it is about imagination, inventions, being true to yourself, and choosing to be helpful over personal wishes. I would pair this with any great science process picture book, like "The Most Magnificent Thing", among others. Wonderful story! ...more
Jenny Hartfelder
This is a cute story that we received through Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. I love seeing how Violet was willing to set aside her desire to fly in the air show in order to rescue those who had been unkind to her. Shares great messages of putting others first and responding in kindness as well as creativity and imagination. ...more
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fabulous children's book for ages 3-8. It is intelligent, comical, endearing, and morally educational. Illustrations are clear and inspire imagination and creativity, as does the story. This book is empowering for girls and for any children who have ever felt out of place or strange in mainstream school. ...more
May 04, 2020 added it
Shelves: picture-books
This book is about a young girl who invents an airplane. She enters a contest and ends up saving a bunch of people. This is a great inspirational book for students. I would pair this book with a craft time where students get to invent their own airplanes. This is a longer book so it'll be a longer read aloud. ...more
Feb 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-kids
My 5 year old daughter loves to build things, and tells us she wants to be a builder when she grows up. This book is a great read for young girls because it encourages girls to use tools, build things, and rescue others when they are in need. My daughter also thought the blueprint illustrations were great; she wanted to use them to start building her own airplanes.
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Violet loves to tinker and build flying machines. She is is taunted at school because she is different. But when she is on her way to the air show, an act of selfless heroism changes her life. Imaginative and fun.
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-18, new-books-18
Such a powerful character is found in Violet! Her less than enthusiastic co-pilot, Orville the dog, is a wonderful touch. I also like the fact that the pain others try to cause her doesn't lessen the human in her heart. ...more
Ann Haefele
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Engaging picture book about a smart young girl who loves to invent machines. Violet is an underdog, and does not fit in with the “in crowd”, but eventually saves the day with one of her flying inventions.
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  Kerine Wint is a software engineering graduate with more love for books than for computers. As an avid reader, writer, and fan of all things...
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