HOW THE WORLD WORKS by Clive Gifford

HOW THE WORLD WORKS

Know it All, from How the Sun Shines to How the Pyramids Were Built
Age Range: 8 - 13
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A handsome and rangy selection of the world’s great systems and phenomena and their workings.

Gifford tackles a broad spectrum of processes, creations and biological systems that have both shaped and inhabited the planet—plus a few items out there in the solar system, such as the workings of the sun and the life and death of stars. But for the most part, the material deals with earthly concerns: how the Earth was formed and reformed; how the dinosaurs (may have) lived and (may have) died; how the sprinter sprints; how wind farms generate electricity; how bridges and tunnels are built, not to forget the pyramids and Roman roads; how one besieged a castle; how the Incans built an empire; how the pirates got rich.Gifford’s explanations are usually nicely sharp and concise—“An earthquake is a sudden release of built-up energy from Earth’s crust. Most earthquakes are caused by extreme forces and pressures that exist near faults—where two plates grind against each other or collide.” He leaves some room for further research at times, though: Fusion “creat[es] the nuclei of helium atoms—and energy.” Throughout, the artwork is marvelous, with bell-clear diagrams, wonderfully atmospheric, dioramalike historical drawings, and crisp photography, which often by themselves fill some of the gaps in the text.

Though not encyclopedic, the many topics addressed get first-class treatment. (Nonfiction/reference. 8-13)

Pub Date: Nov. 5th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-7534-7119-7
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Kingfisher
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2013




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