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The Way Things Work

The Way Things Work

5.0 1
by David Macaulay

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From levers to lasers, from cameras to computers, this 384-page volume is a remarkable overview of the machines and inventions that shape our lives, amusingly presented with a large dose of Macaulay's wit and personality.


From levers to lasers, from cameras to computers, this 384-page volume is a remarkable overview of the machines and inventions that shape our lives, amusingly presented with a large dose of Macaulay's wit and personality.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Debra Briatico
This award-winning reference uses detailed cutaway illustrations, diagrams, and fascinating explanations to describe the inner workings of hundreds of everyday gadgets and machines such as zippers, hang gliders, televisions, musical instruments, and refrigerators. Arranged in four sections (Movement, Harnessing the Elements, Working with Waves, and Electricity & Automation), this comprehensive book demonstrates how machines work and how they are connected to other inventions. This entertaining and informative publication also uses humorous analogies about a woolly mammoth to illustrate the scientific principles behind various inventions.
Library Journal
How in the world can a woolly mammoth (aren't they extinct?) help anyone understand parking meters, cameras, and ultrasound? Simple. By showing the mammoth on the cutting edge of air freight technology, seeing them play on the teeter-totter, and using their trunks as burglar alarms. OK. Down to business. Macaulay has done it again. He has taken four areasmovement, elements, light and sound, and electricity and automationand written about and drawn them in an easy-to-understand way that makes the reader think these things are fun! Wonderful drawings galore, too. Expect high demand for this delightful book that will give persons of any age an elementary introduction to the way things work. Absolutely superb. Patty Miller, New Hampshire Vocational-Technical Coll. Lib., Laconia
School Library Journal
Gr 4 Up Gorgeous line drawings in Macaulay's familiar style, enhanced with watercolors, combine with virtually encyclopedic coverage of how things work to create this absolutely captivating look at the world's technology. Subjects are arranged into four broad categories: units on mechanical devices (simple machines, friction); the use of the elements (wind, water, heat), waves (light and sound); and electronics include both the immense (space shuttles) and the miniscule (an automobile's thermostat). Information presented is up-to-date (compact discs, breath testers), and the introductions and descriptions are well-written and clear. Whimsical woolly mammoths appear to demonstrate principles, take credit for inventions, and speculate on the causes of their own extinction. The number of devices described here defies enumeration: the thorough index, which lists items under both their own terms and under larger, broad headings (e.g., the term synchromesh is also found under car), contains approximately 900 entries. The two-volume The Way Things Work: Encyclopedia of Modern Technology (S. & S.) offers a competitive number of items in a more straightforward fashion, but it is not as entertaining as Macaulay's work. How Does It Work? (Facts on File, 1976) by Chris Cooper and Jane Insley and How Things Work (National Geographic, 1983) by Donald J. Crump both present excellent photography and diagrams with utilitarian text, but neither covers anywhere near as many devices or competes with Macaulay's creativity. A book to be treasured as both a browsing item and as a gold mine of reference information. Jeffrey A. French, Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library

Product Details

DK Publishing, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.74(w) x 10.68(h) x 2.13(d)

Meet the Author

David Macaulay is the author and illustrator of many exciting and unusual books for readers of all ages, including the international bestseller The New Way Things Work; Caldecott Medal-winner Black and White, and Caldecott Honor Award-winners Castle and Cathedral; and Building Big, the companion book to the successful PBS Series. Other awards he has received include the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, the Christopher Award, an American Institute of Architects Medal, the Washington Children's Book Guild Nonfiction Award, the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis, and a Dutch Silver Slate Pencil Award. In 2006 he was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, given to "to encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations." Superb design, magnificent illustrations, and clearly presented information distinguish all of his books. A graduate of and former teacher at the Rhode Island School of Design, Mr. Macaulay lives with his family in Vermont.

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Way Things Work 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Way Things Work is a good book to research old inventions with.