The Story of the Car by Giles Chapman and Us Now
|The Story of the Car by Giles Chapman and Us Now|
|Category: Children's Non-Fiction|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: You might wish for a photographic record of the history of the car for the young reader, but this attractive and well-written book is the next best thing.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 48||Date: July 2017|
|Publisher: Wren and Rook|
|External links: Author's website|
Dinosaurs… farm machinery… science fiction… trains… cars. I can't think of many other subjects that inspired the young me to have a full non-fiction book about them on my juvenile shelves. Most of course I lost interest in with maturity. But the young child these days won't be much different, for good or bad, and so they will like as not want a book about broom-brooms for the shelf. And this is pretty much the go-to volume for such an interest.
The basics are all ticked. It's visually attractive. It's accurately written. It's pleasingly comprehensive. It's also able to teach the adult things he didn't know. Why did Mercedes become such a well-known name in German cars? Just why did Henry Ford decide the Model T needed to be in black? And just what pivotal place in car manufacturing is taken by the Eunos Cosmo??
We do divert from the strict timeline here and there, before it's summarised at the end, but this book is a welcome look at the history of the motor car from inception (with a steam-powered horseless carriage that trundled along dangerously at walking pace) to the imminent trials of the Bloodhound SSC and its search for the 1,000mph milestone. We get to see the growth in the market for cars, and their miniaturisation after WWII, and their computerisation, all in very handy and pleasant double-page spreads; only the one showing a cut-away schematic of a modern car has more than five small, tidy paragraphs. We also get the concerns, only too prevalent for far too long now, of the environmental impact of cars.
The design of the piece is as easy-on-the-eye as is the text; the full-colour pages are completely varied and very competently done, except for the hand-crank on the front of a car we're told didn't have one, and the important images of the cars themselves are as good as we could expect from a photograph-free publication. So while the car books I remembered from way-back-when were building up to an eco-carefree speed-freak streamlining, this goes for the academic and all-encompassing, rather than the superlative. It, then, like the modern car, is safer, more sensible, and much more considerate. It certainly should be considered.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
Cars - A Pop-Up Book Of Automobiles by Robert Crowther did almost the same, but with pop-ups and tabs to pull.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Story of the Car by Giles Chapman and Us Now at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Story of the Car by Giles Chapman and Us Now at Amazon.com.
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