'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Review: How Machines Work

With an inquisitive young mechanical engineer-in-training in my home, I’m always on the look out for interesting books for children about machines, construction, gears and similar topics. This great book caught my attention immediately.

Not only does How Machines Work promise to ‘explore the science behind simple machines and mechanisms – from levers, gears and pulleys to ratchets, cams and cranks’, it also supplies a collection of moveable parts and instructions for readers to build 12 working models for themselves.

From simple inclined planes and levers, to cranks, ratchets, and rack and pinion systems, the book covers a range of basic machine mechanisms. For each mechanism, there is a straightforward explanation, examples from everyday life, an illustrated timeline of uses of the machine through history and the layout for a working example to be constructed from the included machine pieces, nuts and bolts.

While the information is fascinating and well presented for young readers, the working models are the real draw card. Thick cardboard gears, cogs, rods and wheels attach to an enclosed perforated workshop card. The pieces are sturdy and well sized for younger hands, however care would need to be taken around small children as the nuts and bolts particularly are small enough to be put into the mouths of babies and toddlers.

The interactive nature of this book makes it perfect for inquisitive minds that learn through ‘doing’ as well as reading. There is a great balance between information and activity and this book is a perfect gift for budding engineers. My son will be finding a copy in his Christmas stocking and I know he will love it.

Title: How Machines Work: The Interactive Guide to Simple Machines and Mechanisms
Author: Nick Arnold
Illustrator: Allan Sanders
Publisher: Walker Books, $24.95 RRP
Publication Date: 1 December 2011
Format: Hardcover + activity parts in storage section
ISBN: 9781921720727
For ages: 8+
Type: Junior Non-Fiction, Interactive

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