The Village That Took to the Air by M.J. Lory

lecrapaudvolantReview of The Village That Took to the Air by M.J. Lory (aka Marie-Joseph Lory)


Translated from the original French Le Crapaud Volant by R.H. Blackley this book centers around Villemont, a small village of everyday folks. My English edition must have originally had a jacket with some picture, but it came via ILL with a plain green cover with only the name on the spine. The French title translates to “Flying Toad”, not sure which sounds more intriguing, a flying toad or a flying village.


This short children’s read starts out with a typical childhood scenario, a group of young kids that don’t all get along. Fernand, is what one would consider the local ring leader, the other kids look up to him and follow his lead. Bernard motors off to the neighboring city for school giving Fernand a reason for seeing him as an outsider and thinking Bernard feels he is too good for Villemont.


Of course we can’t have our two central characters hate each for the entire book, we must learn from our differences and find common ground. Fernand has acquired a new piece of machinery, a state of the art model airplane that flies. Wanting to show it off, he quickly goes to the commons and starts to exhibit his masterpiece.  Something goes a bit wrong and Bernard happens to be in the area and wishes to help fix the problem. Fernand will have no such help from Bernard. Bernard’s with the help of three girls builds a glider from scratch to show off his flying talents. So after a bit of fun rivalry pitting each boys’ flying machine against each other the village finds a love….flying. Can the village come to work together each adding a piece to the puzzle to build a real two seater plane to be the pride of Villamont? Can this plane bring a local war veteran out of his funk from his war experiences?


A few black line sketch drawings exist throughout the book. Overall a decent read, filled with moral messages and a bit of suspense at the end. I don’t know that today’s kids will see the marvel behind the children (and even the adults) portrayed in this stories awe for the relatively new phenomenon of flight beyond the war front.


Title: The Village That Took to the Air
Author: M.J. Lory (Marie-Joseph Lory)
Publisher: A.S. Barnes and Company, Inc. (1959)
Source: Public Library
Format Read: Hardback
Genres/Subjects: Fiction, Humor, Juvenile

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: