A quick ramble through the history of transport, from camels and chariots to driverless cars.
Beginning with shank’s mare (“People simply walked”), Oxlade navigates his topic by transportation type: from a horse-drawn travois to big trucks and small sports cars, from steam trains to maglevs, log rafts to cruise ships, the Wright brothers’ Flyer to the International Space Station—with pauses along the way to take ganders at motorcycles, submersibles, helicopters, and hot air balloons. Though he sails past “caravels” and “carracks” without explaining their differences he does wheel out definitions for “penny-farthing” and “quad bike” (which American readers will recognize as an ATV), and he also gives passing nods to the Montgolfiers and other inventors. The figures in Haslam’s bright, cartoon illustrations tend toward caricatures, which fly a bit low with a stereotypically dressed Mexican man chasing a mule but generally add a pleasantly breezy air. Some of the bike riders, pilots, astronauts, and subway passengers have darker skin. The vehicles themselves are stylized but recognizable, which is a good thing because closing quizzes challenge viewers to identify 13 of them and to answer a set of questions too. The jacket folds out into a poster that depicts many of the modes of transit covered, with a submersible at the bottom and a futuristic rocket ship at the top.
A spirited road trip over land and sea, through the air, into space, and a bit beyond the present day. (Informational picture book. 6-8)