Hunt draws a welcoming introduction to the engineering trade, which isn’t just bridges, tunnels, and highways anymore.
Engineering has a hard-nosed reputation. Though it is true that engineers use “math, science and technology skills to find creative solutions to problems,” Hunt explains that their work is more than mastering a slide rule and engineering drawing. It’s the discipline’s creative aspect that Hunt concentrates on (“If existing technology won’t solve the problem, engineers create new technology, such as a machine that prints skin substitutes for burn victims”), and how cool is that? Hancock’s artwork is both bell-clear and engaging, a combination that might bring to mind David Macaulay but is a very different animal. Here the illustrations have a board-game appeal to complement the warmth of the writing, which remains approachable despite tongue twisters such as “manganese dioxide for the cathode, zinc for the anode and an alkaline (the opposite of acidic) substance called potassium hydroxide for the electrolyte.” Hunt explains the steps used in engineering design—defining the problem, investigating requirements, developing and comparing solutions, creating, testing, optimizing, sharing—bringing in examples that range from aerospace to biomedical to civil to geomantics (“These engineers monitor climate change, predict floods and study how animals adapt to changing environments”). As she makes her way through each example, an inventive use of iconographics informs readers when they are at each particular stage—comparing solutions, optimizing—of the design process.
Eye-opening, encouraging, and attractive—a winning trifecta. (Nonfiction. 10-16)