Mr Ferris Wheel – National Science Week

Inspired by National Science Week, I’m sharing a found poem, taken from the picture book, ‘Mr Ferris and His Wheel’ – a book that I borrowed as much for my late-teenaged sons as for myself. They’re both so busy with studies at the moment that a picture book is about all they have time for! (And we have always loved a good scientific picture book.)

“Before TV and the internet, people from around the globe gathered at World’s Fairs to share their different ways of life and new technologies.”

What grand events the World’s Fairs must have been! It made me a little envious of the days…

Mr Ferris Wheel

World’s Fair;
America to impress 
              the world.

Mechanical engineer
George Ferris
had 
      an idea
           a dazzle
                 an invention.


Construction chief:
                    “It would collapse.”

George:
        “You are an architect, sir.
        I am an engineer.”


        Dynamite.
Quicksand.
        Digging.
Solid ground
deep into the earth.


Trains chugged 100,000 parts.

Monster wheel had to spin;
elegant passenger cars
the size of a living room.

Two thousand tons of steel

                            up, up, UP.

Glimpses of faraway states!

Perfect escape was
                      fifty cents.

                Magical.

             Ferris Wheel.

This was a fascinating read into the skepticism that surrounded the birth of the Ferris wheel. And the success anyway! Without any financial assistance from fair organisers (convinced of its failure, but finding no better alternatives) and bankers (who ‘laughed him into the street’), 34 year-old George Ferris used his own savings, and with the support of a few wealthy investors, financed the monstrosity himself.

IMG_7648.jpg

I could share all sorts of interesting snippets with you, but where would I start… and where would I finish!? Instead I will say that you should just read the book yourself! And absorb the varied coloured pallets of the illustrations, that take you back to another time and magical place…

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My son’s favourite line of the book?

 “You are an architect, sir. I am an engineer.”

(There may be some bias in son’s preference. 😉 )

I have missed (in more ways than one!) Poetry Friday for some weeks now. It’s good to be back and posting! I’ll be checking out the links shared on Kay’s blog; http://kaymcgriff.edublogs.org. You can too!

TItile: Mr Ferris and His Wheel
Author: Kathryn Gibbs Davis
Illustrator: Gilbert Ford
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 978-0-547-95922-1

PS  Did I mention that I’m scared of heights? The slow and steady, creaky-freaky Ferris wheel is my least-favourite ride of the Show!

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28 comments

  1. This looks like a terrific read–will have to check it out. And what a great source for your poem! (Also, you took me back to the summer when I was 8 years old and my family drove to the NY World’s Fair…what a spectacle that was for my young eyes.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, thank you! I have been meaning to read this book for a while now and I keep forgetting to actually put it on hold. I will do that now. You make it sound good! I love a good picture book during busy times. I feel accomplished by reading one. Have a good weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This looks like a great read. I never really thought about the birth of the first ferris wheel. We take so many things for granted, and it seems almost comical that he would have been met with such skepticism. I wonder what things today seem so far fetched, but will be common place in the future?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I laughed at your confession at the end of your post. There are many things that fascinate us and scare us all at the same time. My husband who is my rock is afraid of heights and will not ride a Ferris Wheel with me. Your found poem is a wonderful synopsis of this book. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. LOL that you are afraid of heights, Kat, and you wrote such an appealing post. the Ferris Wheel is a grand invention and you show this in your found poem. Thanks for sharing the back history, poem, and book.

    Liked by 1 person


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