Sky Chasers

By Emma Carroll

Young Quills reviews

Sky ChasersEsme T’s review
Sky Chasers is an adventurous and imaginative story of the first hot air balloon created by the Montgolfier brothers in Annona, France. I loved this book by an author who has always written exceptional books. Once I had picked up this book I couldn’t put down.

One of the most interesting characters was Pierre Montgolfier. He knew Magpie’s secret from the beginning but he never told anyone that he knew. Whether that was because he wanted Magpie as a friend or whether he did it just out the kindness of his heart, I don’t know. I did not like Monsieur Etienne. At the start I got the wrong impression of him but towards the end I started to like him a bit more.

I found the story quite an interesting idea from Neal Jackson. I liked the fact that he found a true story and re-imagined it. The way Emma Carroll wrote it, the story taught me a lot about how people lived in the eighteenth century while still being an exciting story of Magpie, Pierre, and Sebastian’s adventures. The plot was exciting and there was never a dull moment. The bit that stood out for me is that Magpie and Pierre never gave up. The Montgolfier brothers were about to give up but Magpie and Pierre had the determination that they would succeed that the brothers kept going.

I would definitely recommend this book to other students because it is educational but is also a great story to read.

Rosie M.’s review
Sky Chasers is a great book about a family who had a dream to make the first flying machine but they come across a few bumps in the road, or – for a more accurate metaphor – the sky. Their enemy at the time, the English, had spies in France as the also wanted to be the first to send someone into the sky. Or so Magpie and the rest of France thought. This book is my favourite so far as there are some very interesting characters and parts of the story are true – which just made it more enjoyable.

One interesting character was Madam Delacroix, or later we get to know her as Camille. Throughout the whole book she is seen as the bad guy – and she is – but it’s not her fault. When she was a child, she was very interested in engineering and inventing new products but in her father’s eyes, that’s not an expectable thing for a girl to be interested in. So, with all the ridiculing, her mental state took a toll especial when her brothers where given a brooch that was hers as her mother left it to her after she died but her father wouldn’t let her have it. So, after years of bottling up the hate, she lost track of what was worth getting the brooch back and what wasn’t.

For this reason, I dislike the Montgolfier brothers even though they are meant to be liked and are the inventers of the balloon.

In this book, I leaned about the creation of the first flying device – the hot air balloon. It was made in France by the Montgolfier brothers in 1793 and flown in front of king Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette.

The plot was exiting with constant adventures arising – even from the very start when Magpie was sent to steal from the Montgolfiers. There was also the adventure of Pierre and Magpie getting to Paris after being dropped out of the cart, after being robbed.

What stood out to me about this book was how smart Magpie was. At this point in time, women weren’t seen as smart or even able to be responsible for what they say, but Magpie was respected for being smart by most people. And the fact that she was smart was surprising because she had no education and had lived on the streets all her life but she was very observant and great at science.

I would recommend this book to all the other students in my class because it taught me about me about France in the 1700s and hot air balloons.

Diljot (Primary)’s review
What happens? Did you find the plot interesting? Are there any plot twists?
There are no plot twists. In the story, an orphan named Magpie meets a rich boy called Pierre and she helps his family become the first balloon fliers. I like the plot as it is interesting and the unexpected should be what you think would happen.

Who are the main characters?
The main characters are Magpie and Pierre.

Who was your favourite character? Why?
My favourite character is Magpie because her history is interesting as she was a robber, she is an orphan and her mum died of being drunk, her dad died when he was a pirate.

Did you like the book? What was your favourite part? Why?
I loved the book and my favourite part would be when the balloon flew because it solved all the problems that were happening.

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
I would recommend it to more fluent readers as there are no pictures and long pages to read.

Star rating ★★★★

Taneer (Primary)’s review
What happens? Did you find the plot interesting? Are there any plot twists?
Magpie stole from Pierre one night and then Pierre doesn’t know that it was Magpie, his friend, who stole. Both of them go on a journey to make the first hot air balloon. Yes, there are plot twists, and yes, I found the plot twists interesting.

Who are the main characters?
The main characters are Magpie, an orphan; Pierre, a very posh boy; Monsieur Joseph, the one who made the hot air balloon.

Who was your favourite character? Why?
My favourite character is Pierre because he is funny, posh, and acts like me!

Did you like the book?
I loved the book.

What was your favourite part? Why?
My favourite part was when Pierre went under the carriage just to come with Magpie to Paris.

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
I would recommend it to people who are over 5.  I would do it because it is an over 5 book.

Star rating ★★★★★

Sophie’s review
Which of the characters did you find most interesting, and why?
Magpie, because she is adventurous and polite. She sticks up for people.

Which of the characters didn’t you like, and why?
Monsieur Etienne because he was rushing people and things he is the boss of everyone.

Did you learn anything new about the past from the book?
Never give up and if you are honest you get less into trouble.

What made the history or the time it was set in interesting?
It was set in France so everything was interesting, because I didn’t know they had duels.

Would you recommend the book to other pupils?
Definitely to people who love adventure stories and are interested in intense moments.

Fleur’s review
Characters: Magpie is a strong, courageous girl. She starts off robbing to live and feed her pet cockerel. However, she is a very likeable character and she makes me laugh.

Plot: Sky Chasers is a very fun book to read. It has a gripping plot about the race to beat the English (this book is set in France) to invent a flying machine. There is a struggle, because of the many so-called “English spies”. However, how can Magpie and her friends beat the English and make sure their names are in the history books?

I now know who invented the hot air balloon – the Montpelier brothers. Read this book – not only is it fun to read, it gives you lots of facts about what happened in real life. It was both funny and thrilling. In addition, it was an amazing read.

I recommend this thrilling novel to boys and girls of 9 – 13 years old.

Megan’s review
The book I read is called Sky Chasers. I thought it was an amazing book with loads of different personalities. My favourite character though is Pierre I love his sensitive personality and however much pain he was going through he wouldn’t let the man have the brooch, yet you wouldn’t expect that from Pierre, from what you had seen earlier on in the book he was quite a weak sensitive guy, that’s the sort of thing you would expect Magpie to do. I didn’t like the queen though as at first she was being so kind and then she just turns her back on Magpie and lets the guards take her as an English prisoner. In this book I learnt that the English and the French were competing to see who could be the first to invent a successful flying machine, the French won, and the Montgolfiers were who invented it. The history was made interesting for me with the adventure and how they turned history even more interesting to read just by adding a story. The plot was really exciting because you would always be thinking something different, your mind was never made up. The thing that stood out the most to me was how determined the Montgolfiers were to be first to make a flying machine. I would definitely recommend this to other pupils especially to the pupils who like adventure and history books.

Emma’s review
This is a good book. It has a great storyline and is set in France. The story takes place in the past – about 200 years ago. The main character is a girl called Magpie. She is a young orphan who has to steal to feed herself and her family (a cockerel called Coco). She is brave. She never gives in and she never stops trying to help her friends. Magpie meets a new friend, Pierre, who she helps in a race to fly a hot air balloon in front of Marie Antoinette and the King of France.

Alex’s review
There are so many great characters in this book. Magpie the main character is brave, loyal, and smart. She is a pickpocket and does what she can to survive. Although she is very poor, orphaned, and lives in a country which, at that time (the 18th Century), did not look after its poor, Magpie does not give up hope. She is a bit of a misfit because she does not quite look the same as other people and she is really smart and brave. There is also her cockerel Coco and there is her friend Pierre. They are in a race to fly a hot air balloon in front of the King and Queen and beat the English. It is the sort of book that makes you smile and you keep reading even though you should have turned out your light.

Daniel’s review
In this story I found Pierre interesting because he is quite stubborn and what a boy was like in France 1783.

I learnt from this book that modern hot air balloons were made in France in 1783.

The time it was set was interesting because it shows how much rivalry there was between France and England and what they thought of each other.

I never knew anything about this period of time but now I know that 1783 was a big year for France in the history books and that a new way of travelling was made.

The plot was mysterious but also exiting as there a lot of secrets and adventures which made the book more interesting.

This book has inspired me to experiment in different things.

I would recommend this book because its full of facts and it's also exciting.

Sophie’s review
I loved Sky Chasers by Emma Carroll. It was fascinating how Magpie’s (the main character) role in the story develops over the course of this historic and truly adventurous novel; following Magpie (who is no ordinary or stereotypical girl), and her friend’s escapades every step of the way, from a small town in France to its capital; Paris, where an all manner of events occur…

I think this book is suitable for 11 – 12 year olds, as it is fun, exhilarating, and has your eyes glued to each page until the very end!

4 and a half out of 5 stars.

Edie’s review
I found this book really interesting and exciting. It surprised me how things changed really quickly for the main character (Magpie). She went from a thief to the first human to fly in a hot air balloon. Magpie was brave and determined and was not scared of anything apart from Madame Delacroix. Poor Madame Delacroix had been treated badly by her family, the Montgolfiers, who Magpie worked for. This was a brilliant book and would be a great read for years 5 and 6. The history aspect of this was amazing too.

Ruby-Mai’s review
My favourite character was Magpie as she had a bubbly personality and was outgoing. My least favourite character was Coco as I think she was boring. A really funny section was when Madame Delacroix was bitten by a bird! The idea of this book was extraordinary.

There was a lot of detail in Sky Chasers, lots of characters, and a very interesting story. It was very confusing as there were many characters.

I would recommend this book for children over the age of 9. My rating in stars would be 3.

Taine’s review
The plot: There is a girl, Magpie, who is an orphan and works for Madame Delacroix. Madame Delacroix wants a box but it’s kept in a family’s house. She (Magpie) moves into the house and she tries to get the box, but she realises they are nice. She helps them build a hot air balloon so they will be the first to fly.

The characters: I thought Sebastian was interesting because he is rude, kind, and gets angry. I didn’t like Odette because she is arrogant and does everything urgently.

Did you learn anything new about the past? I never knew who were the first people to design, construct, and fly a hot air balloon.

What made the history of the time it was set in interesting to you? I didn’t find the time it was set in interesting because hot air balloons have been around for hundreds of years.

Was the plot exciting, thought-provoking, serious, light-hearted (or any combination of these?) I thought this book was quite sudden, serious, and light-hearted.

What stands out most? Pierre because he is caring for everyone and he wouldn’t hurt anyone.

Would you recommend it? I would recommend this to other pupils.

George’s review
Characters: I found orphan Magpie most interesting because she’s so sneaky. I didn’t like Madame Delacroix because she’s too expecting.

Did you learn anything new about the past from this book? I learned about the competition between England and France.

When was the book set? What made the history or the time it was set in interesting? Under the reign of Marie Antoinette and King Louis.

Was the plot exciting, thought-provoking, serious, or light-hearted (or any combination of these?) The plot was exciting.

What stands out most for you from the book? It’s very realistic.

Would you recommend it to other pupils? Yes, because it’s very adventurous.

Any other comments? I really liked it and it’s really good. 8/10 stars.

Miranda’s review
Characters: I found Magpie most interesting because she has been hiding a BIG secret from Pierre and the Montgolfiers. I didn’t like Joseph because he gave up so easily.

Did you learn anything new about the past from this book? I learned about the competition between England and France with the balloon. I also learnt about the lifestyle back then.

When was the book set? What made the history or the time it was set in interesting? It was set under the reign of Marie Antoinette and King Louis. It was interesting because I didn’t know much about that era.

Was the plot exciting, thought-provoking, serious, or light-hearted (or any combination of these?) It was exciting because Magpie was a thief but a friend to the boy she stole from. It was thought-provoking and exciting because I didn’t know when Madame Delacroix was going to strike next.

What stands out most for you from the book? That the characters came from different ethnic backgrounds.

Would you recommend it to other pupils? I would because it is informative and exciting.

Any other comments? 8 out of 10 stars.

Zoe’s review
There was a little orphan named Magpie and it was the year 1783, March, in Southern France and in that year, young Magpie wanted to be the first to fly in a balloon above the King and Queen of France. In the book there is a hot air balloon that is called the Montgolfier hot air balloon. The hot air balloon is covered with a magnificent blue orb with dashes of gold, decorated with signs of the zodiac and multiple suns.

At the end of the book the hot air balloon eventually got to go in the sky with Magpie and her friends and so that means her dream had come to a wonderful reality!

I rated 4 stars because I did like the story but I don’t like that it’s in the olden days.

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