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Ultimate Trains
     

Ultimate Trains

by Peter McMahon, Andy Mora (Illustrator)
 

Today's trains are sleeker, greener and faster than ever before. Tomorrow's trains could travel through space at 23 times the speed of sound — nearly 30 000 km/h (19 000 m.p.h.)! But did you know that train technology goes back 5 000 years?

All aboard Ultimate Trains, which takes readers on a trip through the evolution of train technology, bringing

Overview

Today's trains are sleeker, greener and faster than ever before. Tomorrow's trains could travel through space at 23 times the speed of sound — nearly 30 000 km/h (19 000 m.p.h.)! But did you know that train technology goes back 5 000 years?

All aboard Ultimate Trains, which takes readers on a trip through the evolution of train technology, bringing to life the trains of yesterday, today and tomorrow. Five "Build It Yourself" experiments — simple enough to create at home — put train technology into action. Readers can learn how to build a steam engine from a soda pop can, test an electromagnetic track and go online to construct their own magnetic levitation train.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Beginning with the wheel and moving rapidly forward to the development of trains shows readers how much has been accomplished in a fairly short time—especially the last century. Steam powered trains which provided rapid transport across broad expanses soon were replaced by those powered by diesel engines. Today there are experimental trains that do not use fuel at all, but magnetism to levitate and help the train move along at great speed. Readers will learn that there are actually three ways to levitate an object and the author explains and discusses the speeds and drawbacks of each. Trains today are more fuel efficient than planes or cars, and in Europe and Asia there are trains that achieve high speeds to whisk passengers from city to city or country to country. (Having just returned from a trip to Europe, I can attest to the ease and efficiency of train travel.) New technology and plans for underwater trains (riding through underwater tunnels) and trains that would launch spacecraft are some of the more futuristic ideas. Within the book, the author offers five well designed and described experiments. The usual cautions about adult supervision and assistance are given, but for the most part kids who enjoy these types of hands-on activities could easily carry out the experiments. Each starts with a list of supplies, step-by-step instructions, diagrams and a picture or description of the final outcome. McMahon has provided a great blend of history, science and hands-on activities in a very attractive book. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Beginning with a short history of steam and diesel engines, this presentation speeds ahead to discuss current and future train technologies, including magnetically powered "maglevs." McMahon's skillful writing carefully explains complex concepts such as electromagnetic and electrodynamic levitation. Mora's painterly representations of different trains and comprehendible diagrams add visual clarity. Excerpts from interviews with railroading experts are set apart from the text in boxes containing accompanying small photos. What makes this book stand out from the many other works on railroading is the emphasis on future technology and the inclusion of five projects. They involve constructing "a steam engine in a salad bowl," train tracks, an electromagnet, a maglev test track, and a maglev model. Some supplies will need to be purchased from an electronics or science supplier. Safety precautions are noted. Each project is integrated within the main body of the text; a list of supplies, understandable step-by-step directions, and plenty of helpful diagrams are included. Railroad enthusiasts interested in a hands-on approach to learning will find this volume a useful resource. Schools and libraries seeking do-it-yourself project books should consider it for their railroading collections.—Lynn Vanca, Freelance Librarian, Akron, OH

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781554533664
Publisher:
Kids Can Press, Limited
Publication date:
08/01/2010
Series:
Machines of the Future Series
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
10.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
IG1100L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Peter McMahon is an online science journalist who has written for the Toronto Star, CTV and Science.ca. Peter also runs a consulting company that offers training and planning for children's science programming. He is the author of Ultimate Trains. Peter lives in Port Hope, Ontario.

Andy Mora specializes in technical and scientific illustration and also works in advertising and design. He is the illustrator of Ultimate Trains. Andy lives in Cookstown, Ontario.

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