Astra The Lonely Airplane by Julie Whitney
Astra is a sleek, beautiful, shiny Gulfstream (G100) airplane with a fun and playful personality, who finds herself all alone in her hangar with an uncertain fate, as she learns she will be sold. She is missing the fresh air and exercise, and wondering if she will even remember how to fly, after being flown by her sole caretaker and constant companion named Captain Dan for 12 years. She becomes sad and lonely as she sits rusting in her hangar. Captain Dan comes to check on her and start up her engines once in a while, but she will not be able to fly until she has a new owner. Finally, a series of not too friendly and quirky potential owners take her for a test flight, and she discourages each one of them from buying her in a humorous and playful way, as only a plane can. Eventually the right owner comes along, and he is the perfect match for both her and her long-time partner Captain Dan. They fly cross country to California, to their new home, and Astra is tired a bit lagged, so Captain Dan parks her safely in her new hangar for the night, and assures her everything will be alright. Stay tuned for Book Two.
Targeted Age Group:: The book is appropriate for young K-5 readers, and also for preschoolers who will enjoy memorizing the rhyming verse.
Heat/Violence Level: Heat Level 1 – G Rated Clean Read
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I wrote this rhyming children’s picture book, after my husband’s job as Chief Pilot of a corporate jet came to a grinding halt during the COVID-19 pandemic. I sat her beautiful interior one last time and openly wept, feeling sick to my stomach wondering what would become of her, and how long she would in the hangar before being flown again.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The main human character in the book, Captain Dan is based upon my husband Dan who is a pilot. The airplane is based on the real Gulfstream 100 jet that my husband flew until the pandemic abruptly changed things. She is named Astra because the original G-100 jet, manufactured in Israel was called the Astra SPX. The other human characters are a quirky, diverse and colorful bunch, and they each popped into my head as I started writing. If this book becomes an animated series, I want John Travolta to play Captain Dan and Denzel Washington to play Astra's new owner.
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