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Bridges: From My Side to Yours

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Bridge building is given fascinating life in this accessible, wonderfully illustrated study. Ranging from ancient Rome to the present day, from simple log bridges to marvels of industrial technology, and from well-known landmarks to little-known feats of engineering and art, this book gives readers a new appreciation for that most familiar of structures, the bridge.

A look at bridges throughout history, from simple arrangements of stepping stones, to famous ...

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Overview

Bridge building is given fascinating life in this accessible, wonderfully illustrated study. Ranging from ancient Rome to the present day, from simple log bridges to marvels of industrial technology, and from well-known landmarks to little-known feats of engineering and art, this book gives readers a new appreciation for that most familiar of structures, the bridge.

A look at bridges throughout history, from simple arrangements of stepping stones, to famous landmarks such as London Bridge, to marvels of engineering such as New York's Brooklyn Bridge.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Booklist

Adkins offers an excellent survey of bridge building throughout history in this amply illustrated volume. . . . He draws in readers with exciting stories of discovery about engineers who developed the techniques and principles that allowed new structures to be built and his sharply detailed sketches bring essential parts up close, then pull away for a wide view of the magnificent whole. Like David Macaulay's Building Big, this blends fact and good storytelling in a way that will inspire readers to learn more about the engineering feats that make up the landscape.

School Library Journal

A picture is truly worth a thousand words when the subjects are trusses, cantilevers, and caissons, and Adkins’ firmly rendered black-and-white sketches, diagrams, cross-sections, key maps, and portraits will add immeasurably to readers’ understanding of the text. . . Makes a technical subject readily accessible to a wide audience.

Bulletin, Center for Children's Books

Readers are treated to a cogent crash course in the engineering aspects of design and the relative strengths of available building materials. There’s a fair amount of social history as well, in imagining a visit to the original London Bridge and in examining the system of cooperative labor behind Andean rope-suspension bridges. Black-and-white drawings, carefully captioned and labeled to display elements discussed in the text, capture both aesthetic and structural features. . . . Introduce fans of David Macaulay to a new mentor.

The Horn Book

The author's fascination with his subject is well communicated, and his knowledge of history is as dazzling as his understanding of engineering principles. Adkins's description of London Bridge, for example, is as intriguing as his analysis of the Brooklyn Bridge. Each is presented as a symbol of the era that inspired it, as are the other structures presented in the text. . . . An outstanding book for reference and for enjoyment.

VOYA
The author/illustrator, who has also written titles on sailing and sand castles, tells the interesting story of bridges, from ancient stepping stones and fallen logs to massive, ultramodern suspension bridges. Adkins explores the various types of bridges and building techniques, beginning with the Roman era when engineers invented the arch, concrete, and a public works system. By medieval times, many of these spans were dilapidated, and rampant superstitions involving water spirits and trolls inhibited new construction and repair. The Renaissance brought about new ideas such as trusses and covered bridges and perhaps the world's most famous structure, the London Bridge, which housed an entire society of artisans, shops, and residents. The final chapters examine the use of iron, steel, and the cantilever principle during the industrial revolution, when structures became much larger and more complex. The illustrations are reminiscent of David Macaulay's work and greatly enhance the text which is aimed at the elementary to middle school audience. Interesting sidebars throughout the book note famous quotes and poems about bridges or highlight well-known spans such as Golden Gate or Brooklyn Bridge. This volume covers a fascinating subject, examining failures and successes, and provides students with a terrific introduction to bridge building and design. PLB
— Kevin Beach
Children's Literature
Adkins takes readers on a tour of bridges and bridge building through the ages, from prehistory through modern times. Although suspension bridges constructed by the Incas are mentioned, the emphasis is squarely upon Western bridge engineering. Chapters cover stone and wood bridges; bridges in the Middle Ages; how the forces on bridges are calculated; iron and steel bridges of the 19th and early 20th centuries; the big spans¾the Brooklyn Bridge, the Mississippi River Bridge, and the Golden Gate; and the properties of compression and tension used in modern concrete bridges. Adkins includes some fascinating tidbits, such as the origin of the word "pontiff" for the Pope¾it was derived from the name of the most important priest in ancient Rome, the master bridge builder. Medieval London Bridge is covered in detail, from its construction to its toilet system (wooden structures hung out over the water.) The text is engaging, and the engineering concepts are clear and understandable. Detailed black and white drawings beautifully illustrate and complement the text. The book includes a glossary and index. 2002, Roaring Brook Press, Turner
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9 Adkins successfully tackles the art and science of 10,000 years of bridge building and imparts a lot of historical drama along the way. In seven thoroughly engaging chapters, he explores different types of bridges and the technologies that produced them. Simple stepping-stone and log bridges, the influence of the Roman Empire on engineering, the achievements of the Industrial Revolution, and the challenges faced in modern bridge design are covered in generally chronological order. Fascinating human-interest tidbits add historical context: readers learn how London Bridge served as a display for the heads of traitors, satisfying Queen Elizabeth I, "a suspicious queen who-had trouble with plots and conspiracies." While some landmark structures are included, the emphasis is on explaining structural principles and describing the methods and materials of construction of the day. A picture is truly worth a thousand words when the subjects are trusses, cantilevers, and caissons, and Adkins's firmly rendered black-and-white sketches, diagrams, cross-sections, key maps, and portraits will add immeasurably to readers' understanding of the text. An economical and helpful glossary and index are included. Bridges complements David Macaulay's Building Big (Houghton, 2000), and makes a technical subject readily accessible to a wide audience. -Mary Ann Carcich, Mattituck-Laurel Public Library, Mattituck, NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761315421
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2002
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 96
  • Age range: 9 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.32 (w) x 10.34 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Jan Adkins is the author and illustrator of Bridges: From My Side to Yours, called "an excellent survey" by Booklist and "an outstanding book for reference and enjoyment" by The Horn Book. He lives in the San Francisco Bay area.

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