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Children's LiteratureHand-sized and modest, these squarish books feature wonderful short-captioned photos with detail enough to satisfy even the most picky looker. Text is short, and appears as paragraphs, longer picture captions, or sidebars of facts with subjects such as record-breakers, special names, terminology, historical bits, and dimensions. The inventors or founders of a particular method of transportation or the drivers are given short shrift here as the emphasis is on machine overviews and fascinating facts. But it's fun to note that colorful train names include Tom Thumb and the Empire Builder or to view up close a Japanese bullet train. The series has plenty of visual appeal for a wider age range than does the text that would challenge many third graders but work well for a less able middle school reader. A glossary and short index are included but the book's scattered organization poses a challenge for report writers without a clear sense of what they're after. That shouldn't bother the train aficionado, however, who will pore over the pictures and recite interesting facts to anyone who'll listen. "Let's Investigate Transportation" series. 2004, Creative Education, Ages 7 to 12.
— Susan Hepler, Ph.D.