This first volume of the Wonders of the World series offers an uneven account of the problem-plagued construction of the renowned suspension bridge. Brief, choppy sentences and too much extraneous technical detail slow the narrative's pace considerably, while sidebars prove distracting. Yet Mann includes some lively analogies (describing the anchorages, she says, "That's like having 12,000 large elephants hanging on to the main cables"), and she succeeds in giving young readers a close-up, on-the-scene view of a complex engineering project. The unfortunate design presents a visual hodgepodge of simple, uncluttered pages and busy spreads featuring illustrations of various media. These include period drawings that range from delicately detailed to blurry; photographs; and disappointingly stiff original art by Witschonke. Two gatefolds, one vertical and one horizontal, are similarly disjointed, not visually integrated into facing spreads. Ages 7-up.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Grade 4-6. Two eye-catching titles that feature an informative mix of historical reproductions, striking illustrations, and clearly presented texts. Each book opens with an attention-grabbing fictional scene. The Brooklyn Bridge begins on the Fulton Ferry, where John Roebling and his son discuss the need for a more efficient method of crossing the East River. The design, step-by-step construction, personalities involved, multiple setbacks, and ultimate completion of this New York City landmark are all presented in a readable narrative, supported by diagrams and dramatic illustrations. In the first pages of The Great Pyramid, an enthusiastic farm boy leaves his small village to help construct the tomb of the pharaoh Khufu. The book touches briefly on the religious beliefs and social structure of ancient Egypt, while focusing on Khufu's reign and the construction and design of his 50-story monument. The full-page paintings are stunning; touched with tones of gold and textures that reflect a desert setting, they point to the mystery of this ancient civilization. Captioned, full-color photos of artifacts also enhance the well-written text. Both of these beautifully designed titles include fold-out sections that give readers a sense of the size of these structures. Although they include enough information for homework assignments, these books are a browser's paradise.?Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.