Published by Roaring Brook Press
Summary: In September of 1957, David Macaulay left with his mother, sister, and brother to travel to America, where his father had been offered a new job. Their mode of transportation was the SS United States, the fastest, most advanced steamship ever built. Macaulay starts the story with himself at age 10 getting ready to go to America, then goes back to the 18th century and traces the history of steam power and the steamship. The text is illustrated with his trademark detailed, technical drawings illuminating each page, including a six-panel foldout cutaway of the United States with 100 labeled parts. The last chapter tells about his family’s journey and their move to New Jersey. Includes an afterword, a timeline, and a list of selected reading. 128 pages; grades 5-8.
Pros: If you’re interested in engineering, you will never go wrong with David Macaulay. The personal connection to his family made the story interesting to non-techies like myself. The illustrations range from amazing to truly mind-boggling, like the one of the ship described above.
Cons: It will take a pretty dedicated shipping enthusiast to get through all the details in the text.