Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane – book review

Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane – book review

We were sent a copy of the book Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane for the purposes of this review. My 4 year old loves it, and I now know it very nearly off by heart. This is quite a well timed book, since we’ve been talking about female leaders recently, and I thought this would continue our conversation. It didn’t – more on that later.

Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane book cover

In this book, an extremely young-looking Jane is a pilot of a pink plane. Pink’s for girls, doncha know. The plane and Jane fly all over the world together. They visited some places we’ve been to, like Paris, and Rome, and James spotted those straight away, which was a good talking point. The author, Caroline Baxter, included a range of cities and countries to help children to learn about the world.
pilot jane in paris and rome
The dynamic duo are asked to take the Queen to a party, but unfortunately, the night before, Jane’s plane (who is called Rose) has overindulged in cake. She therefore has to spend the day under a blanket, recovering, while a boy plane steps in to save the day.

Mighty Mitch is a bit sceptical that a girl can fly him, and he starts out being a little bit boisterous. In fact, he becomes a runaway plane! Jane gives him a good talking to and they work together to fly through a storm to get the Queen to her party on time. Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane intends to offer a positive message about the importance of teamwork.
mitch as runaway plane

We have enjoyed this book. It is an entertaining read, though we have discussed the rhyming words more than the message of the book. I did ask James who was the leader in the book, and he replied Mitch, because he zoomed really fast. Asked if girls can fly planes, he said, “some of them can. Some of them need to be other things”. Like what? “Like teachers, or doctors, or police, or mummies”.

I think I possibly would’ve enjoyed it more if Mighty Mitch was Mighty Michelle, to show that girls can just do stuff, and other girls can be all “girl power” and step up as part of a team, rather than a man having to take a woman’s place. Actually, it felt like a book that a manager from the 1970s might have written, advising colleagues not to employ women because they have to take time off work for “women’s things”. For me, it’s missed the mark of the message. This picture book was published on 8 March to coincide with International Women’s Day. I don’t think it is quite the uplifting and empowering book it was intended to be. As a story about transport with excitement and a party to attend, it’s great!

The book Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane will be best suited for children aged 2-5, though older children may well enjoy it too.



  1. Sam | North East Family Fun Blog
    May 19, 2017 / 8:24 am

    Love to see an honest review, just a shame it missed the mark a little.

    • babyfoote
      May 19, 2017 / 9:11 pm

      Well, I think it did. I’ve read quite a few reviews of this book who don’t seem to think the same as me, so perhaps I’m off the mark!!

  2. May 19, 2017 / 9:07 am

    I like the illustrations and my youngest boy has always liked pink as a colour so he’d like the plane. Maybe it’s trying to do too much as a book but it is good that it helps develops language skills re rhyming etc.

    • babyfoote
      May 19, 2017 / 9:11 pm

      The illustrations are fab. The drawings of the Queen are very true to life.

  3. May 20, 2017 / 6:56 am

    Hmm it sounds like it could have been a bit of a better advocate for ‘women can’ but it does sound like a cute story which my girls would probably love. Good honest review.

    • babyfoote
      May 20, 2017 / 4:46 pm

      Oh yes, James loves it. It’s a really fun story and well written. Just not quite the championing women take they aimed for, in my eyes.

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