An insanely joyful collection of—well, call them electrifying biographies of very fast trucks.
Profiled here are 10 of the fastest trucks on planet Earth (or likely anywhere else in the solar system). Farndon whets readers’ appetites by briefly surveying concepts of speed and acceleration and how one actually goes about measuring speed. One example is of a “superbike” —that is, a motorcycle—that accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds. Then it is on to a brisk but riveting introduction to the trucks; as the speeds increase, the trucks become more mesmerizing, and turning the pages actually slows the action, something like what the theory of relativity does to time. First up is Lee Shockley’s “Shockwave,” a semi without the trailer, but with three Pratt and Whitney jet engines, which tools merrily along at 376 mph, flames pouring from its exhaust pipes as it races to catch a jet. Late to school? Paul Stender’s “School Time” bus will get you there at 367 mph, though it only gets one mile per 150 gallons of fuel. Brio meets absurdity on steroids in this dramatically illustrated—both photos and drawings—survey that also makes learning about jet propulsion, tire construction, and sidewinder rattlers a hoot. Megafast Motorcycles delivers the same treatment to two-wheelers.
With considerable panache, Farndon bestows these beasts with their very own brand of beauty. (index, glossary) (Nonfiction. 8-12)