Project First Flight

Putney Hicks Inventor Adventures–Book 3

Children - Grade 4th-6th
338 Pages
Reviewed on 09/22/2020
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Author Biography

Award-winning author Marsha Tufft loves snorkeling in the ocean with sea turtles, teaching her dogs cool tricks, and solving problems by coming up with her own designs. Marsha is a retired engineer with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, a master’s degree in aerospace engineering, and a doctorate degree in materials engineering. She enjoys developing experiments targeting girls to give them fun experiences with science, engineering, math, and design.

Because math is so important to success in STEM fields – science, technology, engineering, math – Marsha has developed fun experiments that show the magic and power of math.

Marsha blogs about her projects, designs, and experiments at:

    Book Review

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

Have you ever wondered how a butterfly flies? How does it manage to lift off? Putney is studying her butterfly image in an attempt to improve her butterfly stroke in swimming. She has a swim meet in about a week’s time and she has to master the one swimming stroke at which she fails in time to at least make it look like the butterfly stroke. It doesn’t help that as she trains, her nemesis, Sue, keeps popping by to make fun of her. But Putney’s trusty, magical techno genius, Sam, is always at the ready. There’s an MIT professor intent on learning more about Sam and perhaps taking something that is only meant for Putney and no one else. You see, that’s the true magic of magic – only one person really benefits from it.

Marsha Tufft’s middle-grade novel, Project First Flight, is the third book in the Putney Hicks Inventor Adventures. Like the previous books in the series, this one will definitely not disappoint. Complete with creative and scientific inventions (Putney’s plans included), a little bit of math, logical thinking and planning, and a whole lot of intuitive ideas, this is a great story for an inquisitive young mind. It resonates with the spark of genius and the motto of never giving up. Like Dad’s profound words of wisdom: “Keep working at it. Visualize yourself doing it. Keep that self-talk positive. You can do this. You will get it. You’ll see, one day it’ll just click.” The plot follows Putney’s inquisitive mind as she solves problems and interacts with her friends, mentors, adversaries, and her best-kept secret (which is almost no longer a secret), the magical eyePad, Sam. There’s lots of McGyver-like adventure, too, and this fast-paced story will be another hit for those young readers who enjoy magic, mayhem, and scientific/mathematical logic.

Christian Sia

Project First Flight by Marsha Tufft is the third book in the Putney Hicks Inventor Adventures series and it reads well as a standalone story for children. In this story, the author introduces readers to Putney, who owns a magic eyePad and a magical hi-tech hummingbird robot. She needs to learn the butterfly stroke quickly for an upcoming swim meet and she relies so much on her high-tech tools. But she is worried about Sue, her nemesis. There is also the snoopy professor from MIT who might just discover her secrets — and that won’t be good for her. There is so much that Putney is looking forward to when it comes to the upcoming swim meet. Facing her former best friend makes her jittery, plus she wants to rekindle their friendship. Can she get everything fixed on time?

I loved the expansive nature of the protagonist, her inquisitive mind, and her scientific and artistic inclinations. Project First Flight will encourage young readers to be solution-oriented, to look for answers and to care about their friends. Putney is involved in several activities, including building bedrooms, protecting monarch butterflies, and working on her butterfly stroke for the upcoming swim meet. Moving to a new school and dealing with an elderly relative are among the elements that help flesh out the plot and deepen character. Putney's world is real and it is interesting how Putney develops as she faces every challenge in life. This is a novel about growing up, handling challenging situations, making friends, and dealing with change. Project First Flight by Marsha Tufft is a fun read for children and will also give adults insights into what goes on in the minds of youngsters. Beautifully illustrated and written in a style that is accessible.

Edith Wairimu

The creative, adventure-filled middle-grade book, Project First Flight from the Putney Hicks Inventor Adventures by Marsha Tufft, combines science, technology, and art in its many fun activities. With the fall swim league starting up in which her former best friend, Maeve, will be participating, Putney Hicks feels overwhelmed as she tries to master her worst swimming stroke. Despite her efforts, she keeps lagging behind. Fortunately, she has her extraordinary friends to help her: Sam her magic eyePad, and a robotic hummingbird. She learns helpful lessons about swimming by observing monarch butterflies taking flight. Still, she has more to handle when she learns about a determined prying professor’s efforts to try to track the robotic hummingbird and when her rival, Sue, becomes her new neighbor.

Marsha Tufft's Project First Flight is a wonderful book with many activities that cultivate children’s imaginations. It offers helpful suggestions about exciting exercises that they can try. Young readers will also be inspired by Putney’s problem-solving skills and determination to improve and succeed. I liked that the story features many other fun characters including Putney’s magical friends. I also loved that there are multiple storylines and fascinating projects included which are complemented by colorful, elaborate illustrations. Diagrams that explain the projects are accompanied by step-by-step instructions which make the activities easy to follow and execute. Project First Flight is an educative and entertaining addition to the Putney Hicks Inventor Adventures. Its imaginative exercises empower children to take risks and create. Its practical lessons and original ideas make it a necessary addition to any middle grader’s library.

Amy Louise Hill

Project First Flight: Putney Hicks Inventor Adventures - Book 3 by Marsha Tufft is an adventurous, creative and fun-filled book for children. Young Putney Hicks has to learn how to do the Butterfly stroke - and fast! She practices and practices over and over but she still can't seem to get the hang of it. If learning the new stroke wasn't challenging enough for her, Putney also has to deal with her nemesis Sue Wexford. With the help of some butterflies and supportive friends, will Putney finally master the Butterfly stroke?

Project First Flight was a lot of fun to read. It has so much packed into it that will entertain children for hours or even days! And not only does this book have a highly engaging storyline, along with amusing side stories, but it also provides the reader with some DIY. I loved this as it will enable parents to introduce their children to the meaning of DIY and could even inspire them to come up with little projects, leading them to have even more enjoyment! This book teaches children important life lessons that will be beneficial as they grow up. Whether you are looking to entertain, educate, or inspire your child, this book by the talented Marsha Tufft, will be perfect for you. Congrats, Marsha, I loved every page of your excellent book and good luck in your future creations.