More than 30 years after the publication of The Way Things Work, Macaulay continues to amaze with his architect-trained eye for detail and ability to make the complex understandable. His latest demystifies steam power and its use in ships through the mid-20th century. Bookending the steamship chronicle is the story of the author’s boyhood immigration from Great Britain to the U.S. in 1957 aboard the fastest transatlantic passenger steamship at the time, the SS United States. After delving into the mechanics of steam power, the narrative introduces naval architect William Francis Gibbs and details construction of Gibbs’s dream ship—the same one that carried the author to his new home. The final of four chapters recollects his family’s ocean crossing. Macaulay’s trademark diagrammatic illustrations, with varied perspectives, cross-sections, explanatory captions, and a dose of subtle humor, offer a multilayered reading experience. Particularly impressive is a massive gatefold that offers a stunning bow-to-stern cutaway of the SS United States. A timeline, selected reading list, and archival photos accompany an afterword that entreats that “we must look back ... to see where we’ve been and to be reminded of our accomplishments,” as it discusses a conservancy’s efforts to preserve the historic vessel. Ages 10–14. (May)
“A stunning celebration of ships like the S.S. United States.” New York Times, Editors' Choice
“Macaulay details the design and construction of the vessel in his precise and often playful architectural drawings, luring in readers who might not otherwise be interested in physics and engineering.” New York Times Book Review
“Macaulay's succinct, explanatory text propels the narrative, drawing readers into his meticulous, captioned artwork . . . Not to be missed.” Booklist, starred review
“Macaulay’s beautifully detailed illustrations illuminate the blended text, and are so engaging that they will draw in readers otherwise reluctant about the content of the book itself . . . Perfect for collections in need of STEAM texts; a must-buy for any and all collections.” School Library Journal, starred review
“Stunning . . . This title has potential to draw audiences from budding engineers to history buffs to fans of the golden age of glamorous sea travel, and they’ll all find new understanding of this high-profile episode in transportation history.” Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review
“Beyond the impressive scholarship and impeccable draftsmanship, Macaulay rounds out the reading experience with moments of humor, pleasingly atmospheric spreads, and a humanistic view of applied science.” Horn Book, starred review
“A stunning book befitting its magnificent subject, Crossing on Time is a blue-ribbon read.” Shelf Awareness
“Personal notes give this stirring tribute to speed, power, and technological prowess an unusually intimate air.” Kirkus Reviews
“Macaulay continues to amaze with his architect-trained eye for detail and ability to make the complex understandable . . . A multilayered reading experience.” Publishers Weekly
Praise for David Macaulay:
"There is a sense of wonder in David Macaulay's work. It's fresh and genuine." The Washington Post
"Macaulay's elegant drawings, wry humor, and clear descriptions of the simplest and most complex structures and machines are . . . entertaining experiences for both children and adults." MacArthur Fellows citation, 2006
Childhood memories, as well as loads of historical and archival research, anchor a history of ocean liners from the invention of steam pumps to the magnificent SS United States.
Linked by recollections of his own family's 1957 journey from the U.K. to New York aboard the United States, Macaulay traces the development of steam-powered ships from a small 1783 paddle-driven experiment to the 990-foot monster that still holds the record for the fastest Atlantic crossing by a ship of its type. Ignoring the Titanic-like tragedies, he focuses on design and engineering—mixing profile portraits of dozens of increasingly long, sleek hulls with lovingly detailed cutaway views of boilers, turbines, and power trains, structural elements being assembled (sometimes with the help of a giant authorial hand reaching down from the skies), and diagrams of decks and internal workings. All of this is accompanied by sure, lucid explanations and culminates in a humongous inside view of the United States on a multiple gatefold, with very nearly every room and cupboard labeled. Having filled in the historical highlights, the author turns to his own story with an account of the five-day voyage and his first impressions of this country that are made more vivid by reconstructed scenes and family photos. A waiter in one of the former is the only person of color in clear view, but human figures of any sort are rare throughout.
Personal notes give this stirring tribute to speed, power, and technological prowess an unusually intimate air. (timeline, further reading) (Nonfiction/memoir. 11-14)