Kirkus Reviews QR Code
SPEED MACHINES by Steve Parker


by Steve Parker ; developed by Miles Kelly Publishing

Age Range: 10 - 18

Pub Date: June 15th, 2012
Publisher: Miles Kelly Publishing

Developer Miles Kelly presents a decent but curiously static selection of speedy land, sea and air vehicles.

“I feel the need, the need for speed,” said Tom Cruise’s character in the movie Top Gun, speaking the sentiments of the many, from all quarters of the globe, who simply wish to go faster and faster. This work does not explore the urge, but it does have a partial handle on the ways and means. From motorcycles to trains to speedboats to helicopters and supersonic aircraft, a couple dozen particular machines are presented in cutaways and profile, which can be spun about to look at the top, bottom and sides. Brief, boxed histories and associated “Fast Facts” come in great number, and there are inquiries called “Look Closer,” which explain altimeters, pressurization, Li-ion cells, fuel pumps, droop-snoots and other features of quick craft. A number of real classics are introduced—the X-1 and X-15, the jet-powered Bluebird boat, the Concorde and the TGV—though contemporary vehicles are given short shrift. The slide shows offer balance to the text but can feel too brief, and the videos are both terrific and disappointing—who really wants to watch a Flying Fortress sitting on the runway?—especially when they are not accompanied by sound. The presentation, primarily a flip-page affair, though visually attractive, doesn’t have a sense of energy, and reader involvement is minimal.

More a handsome first draft than a well-considered final product. (Nonfiction enhanced e-book. 10 & up)