Monday, March 01, 2021

MMGM- Escape at 10,000 Feet

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday
and #IMWAYR day 
Say hello to Pongo, a ten year old Shih Tzu Poodle mix who came to live with me last week. His owner died in January, and I adopted him through Ohio Fuzzy Pawz. He is a chill gentleman who is happy as long as he can be with a human! He likes long walks, and is figuring out the joys of a warm rice bag. It's a fun coincidence that one of my recent reads was Maureen Johnson's April release from Disney books, Hello, Cruel Heart, which is the backstory of Cruella deVil from 101 Dalmations. I'm all for literary dog names!

Sullivan, Tom. Escape at 10,000 Ft. (Unsolved Case Files #1)
March 2nd 2021 by Balzer + Bray
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

In this graphic novel, we are taken back to 1971, when a mysterious man by the name of Dan Cooper booked a flight on Northwest Orient Airlines and proceeded to make a number of demands. He was well dressed and polite, although he did threaten to blow up the plane if authorities didn't follow his wishes. He wanted $200,000 in "small, unmarked bills" and four parachutes, then wanted the plane to set off with the back staircase extended. This proved impossible, but the man still managed to jump out of the plane with the money. He had forgotten to specify the denomination of the bills, so ended up with twenties instead of $100 dollar bills, which make the package much heavier. I loved finding out that banks kept wodges of "emergency" money for things like kidnappings, and photographed and cataloged the serial numbers but made the bundles look like they had been assembled in haste! No one ever spent the money, although some of it was uncovered at a river bank in 1980, in a state of decay. While there were some guess about who the perpetrator  might have been, the case has still never been solved!
Strengths: I seem to remember Cooper making his way into popular culture when I was young (there was a 1981 movie with Treat Williams), but younger readers will not have heard of this. It's a fascinating case, especially given the amount of money that was taken, and the fact that the case was never solved. This book lays out all of the details with fantastic illustrations, and was just really fun to read! This is perfect for readers who enjoyed books like Denson's Agent Kathy Puckett and the Case of the Unabomber but want something a bit shorter, with more pictures!
Weaknesses: This was well paced, visually appealing, and had just ONE historical misstep. See illustrations below!
What I really think: I lost so many graphic novels in the March pandemic rush that I should concentrate on replacing lost books in graphic novel series, but this was such a fantastic read that I'm definitely going to have to order it! I loved the illustration style of this, and unsolved crimes are always appealing to my readers. Can't wait to see the next one!


Well, the picture about is from just about one of the coolest websites EVER:

I wonder if Mr. Sullivan consulted it when researching the pictures of the flight attendant's uniforms. My one objection is that the skirts in the pictures are WAY too long. Anyone who was alive in 1971 would know this was not right. Admittedly, I was surprised at how long the uniforms were, but no one under the age of 80 wore skirts below the knee in 1971. If you were 6, like I was, they barely covered one's undergarments! We'll forgive this, since something about the colors and angles of the illustrations did a good job of harking back to illustration styles at the time. 


  1. Congratulations on your new companion, Karen! He's adorable. I hope that you bring each other much joy. Love his name!!

  2. Congratulations on Pongo! Such a sweet dog!

    I vaguely remember the story in the book, but not all the details. The bank was clever. And no, we wore mini dresses with colored or off-white pantyhose if dressy, bell bottom pants. I was a sophomore/junior studying journalism and very involved in professional summer stock theater -- so we dressed in long dresses and wore false eyelashes etc. Also wore stylish mini dresses. It was also the first time I was allowed to wear jeans to college and peasant blouses. (In my senior year of HS in '69, we weren't allowed to wear slacks.)

  3. Adorable new doggie! Congratulations.
    I remember the news story about D.B. Cooper and his miraculous escape. I'm glad there is a series like this to bring it into focus for younger readers. Thanks for featuring on MMGM

  4. Thanks for the heads up about this new graphic novel. Pongo looks like an adorable companion!

  5. Pongo is adorable. I had a couple of Shih Tzu's some years ago, and they were lovely little fellows. I haven't thought about D. B. Cooper in a very long time. I would be interested in reading this graphic novel, even though I don't particularly like graphic novels. Thanks for the heads up.

  6. Pongo is adorable! I feel like adopting a dog is a perfect coping mechanism for the pandemic. I wasn't super-familiar with this case, so Escape at 10,000 Feet sounds great! I appreciate your point about the uniform inaccuracy. Thanks for the great review!

  7. I don't read much mg, but I'm so happy I stopped by to see the pup pics. Hooray for Pongo!