HOW CARS WORK by Nick Arnold


The Interactive Guide to Mechanisms that Make a Car Move
by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 6 - 10
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An ambitious but impractical introduction to 10 mechanical systems common to most automobiles, with build-your-own cardboard components for each.

The book opens with general descriptions and cartoon cutaway illustrations of a four-cycle engine, transmission, differential, brakes, steering and other features. Pictures on each spread invite manually dexterous readers to construct their own flat “working” models. This is done on the supplied detachable pegboard. Models of a cam-driven valve, a piston in a cylinder, versions of the rack-and-pinion mechanisms that control windshield wipers and steering, and various gear pairings use the no fewer than 45 (!) heavy-gauge gears, rocker arms and other pieces (plus a pouch of plastic fasteners) stuffed into an attached box. (Detailed assembly instructions are in the box as well.) Not only are many of these pieces small—and all easy to lose—but the “spring” for the model shock absorber is a single solid piece that will flex only if broken. Furthermore, as the author and illustrator skimp on some definitions (just what is a “parking pawl”?) and skip mention of four-wheel drive, of modern hybrid electric cars and of electronic components in general, their title promises more than it really delivers.

More a Model T (or better yet an Edsel) than a T-Bird. (Informational novelty. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 24th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-7624-4726-8
Page count: 24pp
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2013


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