- Flip!: How the Frisbee Took Flight by Margaret Muirhead
Trade ed. ISBN 9781580898805 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 9781632897367 $9.99
Reviewed from digital galleys R 5–8 yrs
It began with Yale college students flinging local baker Frisbie’s pie pans as a lark. Maybe. What’s quite certain is that more than a decade later, on the West Coast, Fred Morrison and his girlfriend Lu worked off their 1937 Thanksgiving dinner by flipping a popcorn tin lid around the yard. Fred knew he was on to something and experimented with other flingable items; his airborne cake pans caught the attention of beachgoers, and soon he was turning a profit at a quarter a pan. World War II service in the Army Air Corps sharpened his understanding of aerodynamics, and he melded post-war interest in UFOs with that miracle substance—plastic—to create the Flyin’ Saucer. The Wham-O company, hot off its Hula Hoop success, offered to produce and re-market Fred’s newly improved gem, setting Fred and Lu up for happy retirement. The story had one more chapter to go—when East Coasters proved they had long ago mastered the basics of Frisbie flight, Wham-O capitalized on the trend and changed the product’s name to Frisbee. In both text and closing note, Muirhead recognizes that the Frisbee’s origin story is a contentious matter, with rival colleges claiming discovery. Legend is part of the fun here, though, and Gustavson’s gouache paintings boast an affectionately caricatured cast that proudly rides the wave of a craze to Fortune’s shore and becomes the stuff of [End Page 307] legend to boot. With a host of related developments to explore—from Ultimate Frisbee, to disc golf, to beeper discs for the visually impaired—this title could launch one heckuva classroom research project.