A sprawling history of a dozen modes of transport.
We are surrounded by and typically make daily use of some form of transport. Jackson and Mould train their spotlight on 12 types: trains, ships, cars, balloons, bikes, airplanes, tanks, helicopters, rockets, spacecraft, working vehicles, and submarines. Each mode is introduced with a two-page timeline spread illustrated by a spread-spanning rambling path through an appropriate setting for each vehicle. “Cars” from an ancient pottery wheel to the Ford Model T putter along a winding path; “Bikes” from the 1817 “dandy horse” to the “superbike” that won the 1992 Olympics navigate a hedge maze. Mould’s black-and-white cartoon artwork is dazzling as it works its way from ancient systems of transport to modern types. The timelines pick out stellar moments in the development of each transport, and the pages that follow each timeline go into greater detail of the highlights. And the histories are routinely amazing, with 600-year-old trains, high-speed dreadnoughts, 458-meter-long supertankers, sound-barrier–punching automobiles, Titanic-sized zeppelins, the flying monk of 1,010 C.E. (he crash-landed and broke both legs), Leonardo da Vinci’s tank, a 4-billion-horsepower coal digger, and 2,300-year-old diving bells. Jackson’s text has considerable bounce and enthusiasm while managing to convey lots of tantalizing information and historical movement. There is no index, but the table of contents provides easy entry.
A vibrant, well-paced exploration. (Nonfiction. 5-11)