Join Pilot Jane, a fun and fearless airline captain, as she travels the world with her best friend Rose, a high-speed passenger jet. Together Jane and Rose have exciting adventures and form a perfect team, delivering their passengers safely to destinations as far afield as Alaska and Australia. But when disaster strikes and Rose falls ill, Jane is paired with ‘lean, mean flying machine’ Mighty Mitch. Can she still get the Queen to her party on time? Featuring a clever and courageous heroine, this action-packed rhyming story celebrates ‘Girl Power’ and shows what you can achieve if you work together. Fasten your seatbelt and get ready for take-off!
Publisher: Big Sunshine Books
Ten Random Things about Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane by Caroline Baxter
1. I wrote Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane while on maternity leave with my daughter. There were a lot of very early mornings and thinking about the story while giving her a cuddle was much more fun than staring at the TV. Much of the initial draft was actually written between 4am and 6am. Perhaps not surprisingly I ended up making quite a few revisions to it later!
2. I was keen for the story to feature a strong female character from the outset. So many children’s books feature a male as the hero, whereas girls often end up being the sidekick – or even more commonly, a princess waiting a prince. It was fun thinking about all the many talents Pilot Jane could have! In the book, she surfs, speaks Chinese and practises tai chi, as well as, of course, being a highly skilled airline captain. If picture books didn’t need to be relatively short, her capabilities would have been boundless! Aside from ten ‘Introduction to Chinese’ evening classes, unfortunately I haven’t learnt any of these skills myself. There’s still time though . . .
3. Rose the plane’s look was partly inspired by my love of all things Cath Kidston. We live in an old cottage and I’m a huge fan of all their bright floral prints and vintage-style items. My poor husband has to put up with rosy curtains and polka dots! In fact, I initially visualised Rose’s flowers being a lot bigger, but (relatively) subtle was better. I think Izabela Ciesinska did a fabulous job with her illustrations and bringing both Jane and Rose to life.
4. Although the book is partly a celebration of girl power, elements of its design are still quite ‘girly’. Girl power is about empowering girls and women to feel confident in their choices, whatever they are, and I don’t think these things are mutually exclusive. Since having children, I’ve often thought that boys and girls should have a whole array of toys and books available to them in a wide range of colours – but sadly there are no pink planes at the moment in my son’s plane collection!
5. I’ve been lucky enough to travel quite a lot and the locations Jane visits are a combination of my favourite places and the places I’d still love to go. I’ve always loved Paris and New York, for example, and Beijing is another fascinating city. But I’ve never been to Brazil (or indeed anywhere in South America) and Alaska is definitely on the bucket list! You’ll notice that Pilot Jane doesn’t exactly take a straightforward route during her week of travels!
6. Mighty Mitch the plane was originally called Macho Mitch. The name seemed a little tricky for the age group, however, and was eventually substituted for something a bit more child-friendly!
7. The Queen also didn’t feature in the first version of the story, but I needed a very important reason for Pilot Jane to have to work with Mighty Mitch in such a hurry (and leave poor Rose on her sickbed). When I watched a programme about the Royal Family around the same time, it struck me that you couldn’t get a much more important passenger than the Queen. And, of course, this led to some fun artwork, including a lovely image of the Queen snoring!
8. My children’s favourite character in Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane is the Queen’s little corgi dog. I’d rather it was Jane or Rose, of course, but at the moment they are dog-obsessed!
9. The name Pilot Jane was chosen for obvious rhyming reasons. If this hadn’t been a consideration, I suspect she would have been called Polly. Or Lara. Actually the possibilities are endless . . . (does anyone else find girls’ names so much easier to choose than boys’?!)
10. Writing about Pilot Jane has inspired me to do some flying lessons. My husband is booking the first one as my next birthday present. Yikes!
Thank you for hosting me on Fiction Fascination! – Anytime 🙂
About the Author
Caroline Baxter lives in Oxford with her husband and two young children. From an early age she always had her nose in a book – and now does so for a living! Caroline grew up in South Wales and, after graduating with a BA in English Literature from Cardiff University, held a variety of management roles at UK universities including, most recently, at the University of Oxford. The Bear Cub Bakers, her first book, was written while on maternity leave with her daughter. Her second book,Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane, was published recently on International Women’s Day (8 March 2017). Caroline loves travelling, yoga, baking (and eating) cake, dogs, days out and snuggling up with a good story.