Ten bridges that both changed how we get from here to there and stunned us with their design beauty and engineering cleverness.
Cornille’s book itself has been designed to evoke a bridge: 6 inches by 13 inches, with the long spine to top and the book opened and read after rotating 90 degrees to the right. The bridges have been chosen for a variety of reasons; some are revolutionary in design, others are marvels or curiously elegant or weirdly delicate slabs of concrete. The artwork is composed of artful mechanical drawings—something like David Macaulay with even finer lines—which are not so much simplified as zeroed in on the fundamentals of construction and the way a bridge progresses from one piece of land to another. The bridges’ background stories are quick and captivating: how one bridge nearly killed its engineer from decompression illness as he repeatedly descended into the caissons or how the bridges change the psychological geography of how people relate to land and water. The bridges include the cast-iron bridge over the Severn River, England; the Brooklyn Bridge (inaugurated by a parade of 22 elephants); the Rio-Niterói Bridge in Brazil, which stretches over 8 miles; and Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk (up in the canopy of eucalyptus trees in Australia), among others.
A work of beauty and a conveyance into human ingenuity. (Informational picture book. 6 & up)