That's How!

That's How!

by Christoph Niemann
     
 

How do things work?

Hmmm.

Let me think.

That's How!

Christoph Niemann invites you to look below the surface in this visual exploration of the way things work. Turns out there is more to it than meets the eye!

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Overview

How do things work?

Hmmm.

Let me think.

That's How!

Christoph Niemann invites you to look below the surface in this visual exploration of the way things work. Turns out there is more to it than meets the eye!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Niemann's (Subway) dialogue between a freckle-faced girl and a boy in a red T-shirt provides a carefree antidote to earnest books of diagrams explaining complex mechanisms. "How does a truck work?" the girl asks, her question hanging in an oversize word balloon above her head. "Hmmm..." says the boy. "Let me think." A cutaway view of the truck (contained within the boy's speech bubble on the next spread) shows a lion inside it, peddling a set of gears and chains. "That's how!" says the boy, index finger raised for emphasis. Further on, in the dark interior of a freighter, an octopus twirls the tail of a whale like a propeller to drive it through the water, while a steamroller is revealed to be powered by two bears rolling over and over as a parrot tickles them. The whole thing conjures up a wide-eyed instructional filmstrip from the '60s. It's fine parody; even the youngest readers will understand that Niemann's drawings are make-believe. Joyfully liberating modern machinery from the laws of physics—while maintaining a dash of rationality—this is another winner for Niemann. Ages 2�5. (May)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—In this deceptively simple picture book, a boy entertains his friend with cleverly imagined ideas about how a number of vehicles work. When she asks about a truck, he responds, "Hmmm...let me think." A flip of the page shows a yellow lion pedaling a bicyclelike chain and gears inside a black truck. The scene takes place in a huge word bubble over the boy's head, along with the words, "That's how!" The girl responds, "Wow!" And that is pretty much the pattern of the entire book. The freighter is run by an octopus winding a whale's tale, the steamroller by a bird tickling two bears, and so forth, until the three final spreads. When the girl asks how a bicycle works, the boy thinks, and, in a reversal of roles, she says, "I know!" and she rides off on the bike: "That's how!" The mixed-media digital illustrations are saturated full-bleed spreads, the word bubbles lend a comic-strip feel, and the children's clothes change color to match each machine. Boy, girl, animals, and vehicles are all done in bold colors and have a cartoonish, childlike sensibility. The large trim size, popular topic, and brightly colored artwork will work well in storytimes, where children will happily chime in for the refrain with each page turn. A surefire hit to fill the constant demand for vehicle books.—Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT
Kirkus Reviews

Bold, brightly colored graphics, big, brushed letters and patent silliness catch the eye but perhaps not the imagination. A little girl asks a little boy, "How does a truck work?" The boy says, "Let me think," as they both regard a shiny red panel truck. On the next page, a silhouette cutaway of the truck is shown, with a supine lion turning the gears with his toes. "That's how!" he says. The girl responds, "Wow!" And so it goes. The girl asks a question, the boy thinks about it, the visual shows some very odd animals providing the engine for a pink airplane (birds with fuchsia feet), a steamroller (a parrot tickling some highly amused bears), a train (a kitchen full of monkeys). Finally, the girl asks about a bicycle, but before he can answer, she climbs aboard, puts on her helmet and rides off. "Wow!" he says. Ink drawings and digital shapes make for a smooth, cartoony surface. It all feels sexist and gender-divisive, even though the girl makes the final—correct—point. Young readers might admire the boy's powers of invention (the pink bunny manipulating the green lizard inside the backhoe is really quite something), but they might also wonder both why he pontificates so and why she bothers to ask. A nifty concept doesn't quite make it in execution.(Picture book. 5-7)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062019639
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/10/2011
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
605,765
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 11.60(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
2 - 5 Years

Meet the Author

Christoph Niemann is also the creator of the picture books Subway, The Pet Dragon, and The Police Cloud, as well as the blog Abstract City at www.newyorktimes.com. He has illustrated covers for the New Yorker, the Atlantic, and the New York Times Magazine. The artist lives with his family in Berlin, Germany, and New York City.

Christoph Niemann is also the creator of the picture books Subway, The Pet Dragon, and The Police Cloud, as well as the blog Abstract City at www.newyorktimes.com. He has illustrated covers for the New Yorker, the Atlantic, and the New York Times Magazine. The artist lives with his family in Berlin, Germany, and New York City.

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