Candy Bomber: The Story of the Berlin Airlift's
Candy Bomber: The Story of the Berlin Airlift's "Chocolate Pilot"

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Annotation: Describes the efforts of U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Gail Halvorsen to aid the children in Russian-blockaded West Berlin by dropping packages filled with candy from the air.
Genre: Biographies
Catalog Number: #45278
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition Date: 2013
Pages: ix, 110 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-580-89337-6 Perma-Bound: 0-605-44367-X
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-580-89337-4 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-44367-9
Dewey: 921
LCCN: 2009026648
Dimensions: 23 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
American pilot Gail Halvorsen, along with his fellow servicemen, delivered candy to children in post-WWII West Berlin--dropping the treats from their bomber planes. Copious photographs and reproductions of letters bring the children's gratitude to life. By beginning with these personal stories, Tunnell piques readers' interest in learning more about the conflict between the Soviets and the Germans, information provided in later chapters. Reading list, websites. Bib., ind.
Kirkus Reviews
Who would guess that candy, handkerchiefs and one man would play a significant role in postWorld War II Germany? As the subtitle indicates, Gail Halvorsen, a lieutenant in the U.S. Force, became the "Chocolate Pilot" when his face-to-face encounter with a group of starving children in Berlin led to a personal mission. Halvorsen gave them two sticks of gum, which they all shared, and that was the start of Operation Little Vittles. Inspired by the children's willingness to forego Soviet-offered food in favor of freedom, Halvorsen and fellow pilots made numerous flights, dropping hanky parachutes that carried tons of candy and gum to eagerly awaiting children, who learned that the planes' "wiggling their wings" meant goodies were on their way. Illustrated with black-and-white archival photos, the six chapters convey Halvorsen's life, interjecting comments and correspondence from individual children. The abundance of war details aid in the transition from one chapter to the next but tend to overrun the telling, hampering narrative flow. Readers who stick with it, however, will gain a unusual perspective on the beginnings of the Cold War. (Nonfiction/biography. 10-13)
School Library Journal
Gr 4&11;6&12; Tunnell brings to life a little-known post-World War II story. What started as a single pilot&9;s car tour of bombed-out Berlin turned into an international campaign to help lighten the suffering of the children of West Berlin. The time was 1948, and the Soviet Union had closed all land access to the isolated Free World sectors of West Berlin in an attempt to starve the people into accepting Communist rule. On an impulse, a C-54 cargo pilot, Lt. Gail S. Halvorsen, shared the only two sticks of gum he had with a group of about 30 children. What started as a somewhat clandestine candy-dropping operation by Halvorsen and his buddies eventually became a USAF-sanctioned operation. As the airlift of food and fuel continued for almost two years, tons of candy were dropped (using tiny parachutes) for the children who waited in the flight path below. The text is liberally illustrated with black-and-white photos, copies of letters, and a diagram of how the flight patterns worked. Endpapers contain color reproductions of a few of the many pieces of children&9;s artwork that Halvorsen received as the &4;Chocolate Pilot,&4; &4;Uncle Wiggly Wings,&4; and &4;Dear Onkl of the Heaven.&4; Vocabulary is relatively easy, but adequate for the topic, which makes the text flow easily. The book concludes with extensive biographical, historical, and author&9;s notes. This is a real treat&12;a World War II title with a happy ending. Make it a first purchase.&12; Eldon Younce, formerly at Harper Elementary School, KS
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Curious about the city into which he ferried goods during the Berlin Airlift in 1948, pilot Gail Halvorsen stayed over to visit, met some children, and offered to drop candy and gum when he next flew over. This simple idea grew into a massive project with reverberations today. Tunnell tells this appealing story of a cold war soldier who made a difference clearly and chronologically, weaving in just enough background for twenty-first-century readers and illustrating almost every page with black-and-white photographs, many from Halvorsen's own collection. Opening the book with a shot of a nine-year-old boy looking for the plane that will wiggle its wings, the author captures young readers with the very idea of the chocolate pilot and keeps them with a steady focus on the German young people, including their letters and drawings. He concludes with a chapter describing Halvorsen's successful military career, his meetings with children who caught the candy, an anniversary drop, and more ghly satisfactory results from his spontaneous good deed. Halvorsen contributes a prologue; biographical, historical, and research notes add information; and selected references, including further-reading suggestions (though no source notes), close out this accessible and positive portrayal of a serviceman who wasn't on the battlefield. Irresistible.
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references (pages [105]-106) and index.
Word Count: 10,307
Reading Level: 7.2
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 7.2 / points: 2.0 / quiz: 137463 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:10.7 / points:6.0 / quiz:Q49760
Lexile: 1130L
Guided Reading Level: W

One WWII pilot’s mission to lift the spirits of children living in war-torn Berlin in 1945 comes to life in this moving middle-grade historical account. After World War II the United States and Britain airlifted food and supplies into Russian-blockaded West Berlin. US Air Force Lieutenant Gail S. Halvorsen knew the children of the city were suffering. To bring a bit of hope, he began dropping chocolate and chewing gum by parachute.

What began as a one-time gesture of compassion turned into an official U.S. Air Force operation. “Operation Little Vittles” grew, as more and more pilots volunteered to drop the parachutes, and donations of candy and cloth poured in from all over. This inspiring story of one man’s contribution to the rebuilding of a country after war is a unique look at history.

Illustrated with archival photographs, personal photographs from Lt. Gail Halvorsen—the Chocolate Pilot—letters, and documents, Candy Bomber is an important and interesting addition to studies of World War II.

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