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by Richard Platt & illustrated by Stephen Biesty

Age Range: 8 - 80

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-679-81411-6
Publisher: Knopf

 Biesty, who specializes in historical and architectural cutaway drawings, dissects 18 buildings, vehicles, etc. (castle to space shuttle), to show their veins, sinews, and bones. Each meticulous drawing fills a colorful oversize double spread; two (the Queen Mary and a steam train, The Flying Scotsman) fold out to 40 inches. Introduced by brief texts and surrounded by captions incorporating historical lore, facts, and anecdotes, they contain hundreds of minute details of construction and function. Readers may get as compulsive about this fascinating book as they do about Waldo (one challenge here is to find figures sitting on toilets--there are at least ten). The drawings don't yield all their secrets easily: considerable effort is needed to piece together what's going on in the automobile factory or on the North Sea oil rig. Still, this pictorial information will be absorbed in a more integrated way than from a linear text. In one or two places captions point to the wrong area of a drawing, and they are occasionally marred by silly puns. One error: 747's don't normally use microwave ovens-- they're far too inefficient for bulk food, and could interfere with the radio. Overall: vastly entertaining and instructive. Index. (Nonfiction. 8-80+)