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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Giant Vehicles, written by Rod Green and illustrated by Stephen Biesty. templar books, Candlewick Press, Random House. 2014. $18.00 ages 5 and up

"The biggest type of submarine ever built was called the Typhoon, and six of them were made for the Russian navy in the 1980s. Ten times as wide as a bus, the Typhoon was as long as a 17-bus traffic jam..."

Take a good look at that cover, and you are sure to start thinking about the readers who will want to have it in their hands. Giant vehicles is right...eight of them!

The coal car is the first to make an appearance, in its place behind a locomotive on the super-train. The two page spread stretches from corner diagonally to the opposite corner and shows readers all the parts of the train that is wending its way across the two pages. The train cars are endless, and all contain coal. It takes three engines to haul the attached cars:

"One locomotive is strong enough to pull a normal train, but some trains are so huge they need seven! The locomotives are not always grouped together, a train might have some at the front, some in the middle, and some at the back."

Other vehicles described are the giant jumbo, the whopper chopper, rocket to the moon, the mighty dumper, the floating hotel, and finally a sub sandwich (as described above). Each of these mammoth means of transport were designed to haul huge loads on land, in the sea and through air and space. You cannot help but be impressed.

Stephen Biesty does his usual incredible job when illustrating these amazing machines. The details are precise enough that we are able to see workers and passengers. The captions and labels provide just enough information to intrigue without overwhelming readers, and the cross-sections and small flaps offer a close look at their inner workings. The extra small images that surround the main illustration provide for further study.

Accessible and endlessly fascinating, this is a book that will long be appreciated for those who have a love for engineering and immensity. WOW!

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