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ISBN: 9781410925572
Author: West, David
Publisher: Raintree
Published: August 2006
Retail: $29.29    OUR PRICE: $2.99
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Binding Type: Library Binding
Annotation: Peter and Penny learn about how trains work when they help their grandmother restore an old steam train, in a story that is told in graphic novel format.
Additional Information
Physical Information: 0.39" H x 11.30" L x 9.44" W 32 pages
Bargain Category: Upper Elementary, Reference, Non-Fiction, Middle School
Grade level(s): 4th, 5th, 6th
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.
Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2007 Spring)
This comic-book-format series explains the repair process of a specific vehicle. West ably describes the mechanics and science underlying each machine's design. While providing a solid overview, there is a lot of overlap and repetition among the books, and the framing device (the reader is helping to repair a vehicle) becomes a bit tedious. Diagrams are included. Glos., ind. [Review covers these Why Things Don't Work titles: [cf2]Helicopter[cf1], [cf2]Motorcycle[cf1], [cf2]Plane[cf1], [cf2]Race Car[cf1], [cf2]Tank[cf1], and [cf2]Train[cf1].] Copyright 2007 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2007 March)

Gr 4–6— These titles present basic facts about how vehicles work. Various mechanical functions are explored by focusing on what happens when many parts of a machine are not functioning. Some are obvious, such as a plane with unattached wings; others are more subtle, such as loose spokes on a motorcycle. In each case, two kids work together to identify and fix the error as they try to get the vehicle running properly. Along the way, they explain the repair process to one another. By the time the machine is fixed, the children have conveyed general information and some specific details about how the various parts function together to make the machines operate. Descriptions of more complex operations, such as the pistons of a steam train, may be hard to grasp fully, but clear language and diagrams within the panels make the basic concepts fairly easy to follow. The dialogue is stiff and the drawing unexceptional, but the characters and their repair efforts serve mainly as conduits for factual data. The inclusion of both genders in each pair of kids is a nice feature, and the comic-style panels may draw interest from readers who might be put off by more typical nonfiction presentations on these popular topics.—Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR

[Page 240]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.