Review Blog

Jan 15 2018

Meet the Flying Doctors by George Ivanoff

cover image

Ill. by Ben Wood. Penguin Random House Australia, 2016. ISBN 9781408876787
(Age 7+) Recommended. Most Australians have heard of the Royal Flying Doctor Service and many owe their lives to its support. Meet the Flying Doctors by George Ivanoff and Ben Wood will help children to appreciate the organisation by explaining how it was formed. The title is one in the Meet series, which aims to introduce younger readers to people who have played significant roles in Australia's history.
The story is told by a young, fictional narrator who explains why he believes that his life has been saved by the Reverend John Flynn. This device enables the author to begin with a kitchen table discussion about the man on the $20 note, and end with the narrator's journey to hospital by plane. Between these two events is a straightforward telling of Flynn's arrival in the outback, and his determination to create an aerial medical service after reading about the death of an injured stockman. Ivanoff has explained the steps taken by most of those involved in helping Flynn to realise his dream. Alfred Traeger, inventor of the pedal-powered radio, is not mentioned in the text but his achievement is included in a detailed timeline at the end of the book. The timeline appears to have been written for adults, who can use it to answer questions or provide additional information in a classroom. A map of Australia marks air base locations but does not name them. Information about current technology has been incorporated into the narrative. The text is written in a medium-sized font. Sentences are short and clearly written. Wood's engaging illustrations reproduce the colours of the outback in soft shades of ochre and green. Like aerial photographs, two of the pictures represent the landscape from a pilot's point of view.
Younger readers, who read or share Meet the Flying Doctors, can enjoy learning about a remarkable aspect of Australian history.
Elizabeth Bor

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