With help from, appropriately, a mountain goat, Rogenmoser chronicles the succession of engineering feats that have made possible travel and trade over a rugged Alpine pass through the centuries.
Though marred by some unintuitively placed art and a modern frame story too sketchy to make sense to nonlocal readers, her account of this truly long-term infrastructure project offers historical as well as geological cross sections. The author begins with a legend involving the Devil, a goat, and a bridge over the treacherous Schöllenen Gorge. She then goes on to describe and illustrate a succession of bridges, tunnels, and roadways built in the area from the early 13th century, finishing with the titular Gotthard Base Tunnel scheduled to open in mid-2016. Her soft-focus colored-pencil drawings cover each spread with a concatenation of structures and construction crews, cutaway glimpses of tunnels being drilled, antique coaches and modern automobiles, freight and passenger trains, livestock, hostelries, trade goods, and travelers from diverse eras. Except on one spread where a picture of automobiles being transported by rail interrupts sequential views of the first (or perhaps an early) car to try the steep pass, the mix remains coherent thanks to plenty of explanatory captions, comments, and labels.
Compact in length but broad of scope, an eye-opening gander at a brand-new wonder of the world. (maps, timeline) (Informational picture book. 7-9)