Kids who like car books soon outgrow the ones with nice pictures and simple diagrams—and then what? What do you give a car-crazy kid who – might – be drawn into the fascinating world of science and engineering if he had the right teacher? Most car books for older kids are chock full of dull details and have no excitement whatsoever. They drone. They drag. They discourage with their very verbiage. We’ve got a cure for that. Richard Hammond, star of the BBC’s Top Gear and past host of Brainiac: Science Abuse, has teamed with picture-mad DK publishing to bring off Car Science: An Under-the-Hood, Behind-the-Dash Look at How Cars Work.
The book is divided into four very fun, very illustrated sections: Power, Speed, Handling, and Technology. There’s never a dull moment as Mr. Hammond divulges details of “…everything you need to know to be a real driving expert. How a turbocharger works, how gasoline is made; we’ll look inside gearboxes and learn why a Formula 1 car’s brakes glow pink when it’s stopping. And, at the end, we’ll look at the kind of cars that we might be driving in the future.”
This is not dumbed-down automobile science. The basic theories are solidly here, and they’ve got all the zip, spark, and drive of one of Top Gear’s supercars. In addition to being a scientist and television star, Richard Hammond is also a dad, and he knows what interests kids. So, there are some questions answered that might not have occurred to another writer: how do Monster Trucks do what they do? What’s the problem with electric cars? How does a real submersible car work? Hammond explains the science of skids, motorcycle “walls of death,” Formula 1 safety gear, and how all-terrain vehicles handle off-road conditions. Car Science
is an absolutely fascinating trip round the practical how’s and why’s of the automobile’s inner workings, replete with pix of supercars and occasional interjections from the physics-minded Sir Isaac Newton.