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How Machines Work: Zoo Break! Review by Holly Johnson

David Macaulay
Doring Kindersley Limited
DK Limited : The Penguin Group (UK)
80 Strand London
WC2R 0RL
http://www.DK.com

David Macaulay's newest hardcover book, How Machines Work, uses pop-ups and full-color, award-winning illustrations to demonstrate the technology of six simple machines. Follow the mad antics of Sloth and his side-kick Sengi as they try to break out of the zoo with the help of levers, pulleys, screws, inclined planes, wedges and wheels. The pop-ups help children explore six simple machines, from bicycles and cranes to hammers and drills, through interactive science. Packed with engaging, hands-on activities, David Macaulay's How Machines Work will gear kids up for scientific and engineering greatness! (Price: £14.99 / $19.99 US / $22.99 Can)

While most of David Macaulay’s books are geared to grades five and up, this one appeals to a younger set of readers. The book is aimed at children aged 7-10, and not intended for children under 7. It has moving parts, some of which are small, and several pop-ups. There are 32 pages of fun-filled explorations covering all six simple machines! The pop-ups help children explore six simple machines, from bicycles and cranes to hammers and drills, through interactive science. Packed with engaging, hands-on activities, How Machines Work will inspire kids to create their own simple machines! As a science supplement, it would work well in both the homeschool and traditional classroom.

My elementary and middle-school aged boys very much enjoyed this book! Our school leans toward unit studies and hands-on learning, and this book fit right into that approach. (We use many of David Macaulay’s videos and books with our curriculum.)  The cover is made like a board book, and the illustrations are vibrant and colorful.  The text is simple and understandable, even for younger children. One can easily see the pop-ups and pull-outs being ripped out by littles, so it is a book that will need to be put out of reach. Also, it may not be the right book for a traditional, or rigid, curriculum.

Macaulay says that “we just have to learn to stop and look and question as often as possible. The rest will take care of itself.” This is exemplified in How Machines Work. We stopped our science class, looked through this book, and questioned how every piece worked; and they understood simple machines clearly! What better way to teach our children, and get them to enjoy the learning process, than through books and games?

—Product review by Holly Johnson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March, 2017

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