By: Michael Rosen
Illustrated by: Pat Sandy
Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
Publication Date: August 2013
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: December 7, 2013
If you told your friends that trains fly, you’d get some mighty funny looks. However, if they knew about the Shanghai Maglev train, those funny looks would soon turn to looks of amazement. Oh, and maybe they would think you were really smart (and cool) when you told them that in addition to being the “fastest train in the world,” you told them all about “magnetic levitation.” It’s a “technology that uses magnets to lift and suspend the train just above the rails.” Nah, things just can’t get any cooler than that, or can they?
Yes, things can get cooler than that and maybe even a lot weirder. Seen any flying saucers lately? If you have, you just may have gotten a glimpse at the Moler Neuera. The Nuera can carry two passengers and can “soar at 100 miles (161 km) per hour.” Now that is weird, but Moller is ever innovative and has just invented the Mollar Skycar, a “mini-plane” that can go even faster. It’s a very futuristic looking vehicle, but it just may be something you’ll have in your future. There are some other forms of transportation that are recognizable, but equally amazing.
Ever seen a boat that could carry more than a hundred people? Of course you have, but I bet you haven’t seen one that looks like a super-duper, extra long canoe. Snake boats can “carry crews that exceed one hundred: sixty paddlers paddle, ten helmsmen steer, [as] two dozen singers chant.” There are a lot of “bizarre vehicles” in this book and if you like strange but true things, you’re going to be amazed at what you read about!
This is an amazing collection of bizarre vehicles that will thrill young readers. This is the type of book that will engage even the most reluctant reader as they turn the pages of this book. The layout is very vibrant with graphic novel-like drawings and mesmerizing photographs of the most unusual vehicles. In addition to the ones already mentioned there is the aquaskipper, polwerbocks, a personal jetpack, solo submarine, examples of skysurfing, a rinspeed squba, people zorbing, and a sampling of art cars. The writing is definitely upbeat and kid-friendly. In the back of the book is an index, a glossary, and additional recommended book and website resources to explore.
Quill says: If you have a youngster who likes their reading a little bit on the weird and wacky side, they'll love this book!