________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 17 . . . .April 13, 2007

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Formula One. (Automania!).

Adrianna Morganelli.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2007.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $10.40 (pbk.), $20.76 (cl.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3031-6(pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3009-5 (rlb.).

Subject Headings:
Formula One automobiles-Juvenile literature.
Grand Prix racing-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-8 / Ages 8-13.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

   
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Muscle Cars. (Automania!).

Katharine Bailey.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2007.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $10.40 (pbk.), $20.76 (cl.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3032-3 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3010-1 (rlb.).

Subject Headings:
Muscle cars-Juvenile literature.
Muscle cars-United States-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-8 / Ages 8-13.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

   
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NASCAR. (Automania!).

Rachel Eagen.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2007.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $10.40 (pbk.), $20.76 (cl.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3029-3 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3007-1 (rlb.).

Subject Headings:
NASCAR (Association)-Juvenile literature.
Stock car racing -United States-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-8 / Ages 8-13.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

   
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Street Cred. (Automania!).

John Zronik.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2007.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $10.40 (pbk.), $20.76 (cl.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3028-6 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3006-4 (rlb.).

Subject Headings:
Automobiles-Juvenile literature.
Automobiles-Customizing-Juvenile literature.
Automobiles-Decoration-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-8 / Ages 8-13.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

   
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Sweet Rides. (Automania!).

Katharine Bailey.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2007.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $10.40 (pbk.), $20.76 (cl.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3030-9 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3008-8 (rlb.).

Subject Headings:
Sports cars-Juvenile literature.
Sports utility vehicles-Juvenile literature.
Limousines-Juvenile literature.
Automobiles-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-8 / Ages 8-13.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

   
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Vintage Cars, 1919-1930. (Automania!).

L. Michelle Nielsen.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2007.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $10.40 (pbk.), $20.76 (cl.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3033-0 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3011-8 (rlb.).

Subject Headings:
Antique and classic cars-Juvenile literature.
Automobiles-History-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-8 / Ages 8-13.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

   

excerpt:

Tuner culture originated in Japan, where teenagers raced on streets in Tokyo in sport compact cars. They tuned the engines to increase their cars' power and speed. The North American tuner scene began in Los Angeles, California, in the early 1990s. The engines of cars imported into the United States were modified to drive faster. Most of the cars imported from other countries were from Japan. Japanese car models, such as Honda, Nissan, Acura, and Mazda became popular tuner cars among American teenagers. Early tuners were often raced in street races and drag racing events. By the late 1990s, the tuner scene had spread from Los Angeles to other cities across the United States. (From Street Cred.)

 

With their vibrant, almost blinding, colourful covers, the titles in the new 10-volume "Automania" series practically shout, "Read me!" Car buffs will delight in reading about their favourite kinds of cars, car races, famous race car drivers and the technological innovations which have made automobiles faster and more powerful. Younger readers might skip most of the text and be happy just to look at the fantastic photographs while the older members of the target audience will glean a great deal of information about car design and trends, racing regulations, the history of car manufacturing, car racing and the many people who are involved behind the scenes and on the sidelines. The text, even when describing the more technical details, is fairly easy to comprehend. A table of contents, a glossary and an index are provided. Though the text engages the reader, it takes a back seat- no pun intended- to the illustrations which consist of diagrams, archival black-and-white photographs and outstanding colour photos of car interiors and exteriors and action shots of major races.

     Formula One is not only the title of one of the series' books, but also refers to the best of the cars which are built to strict specifications by the F.I.A. (Fédération Internationale de L'Automobile). These cars can reach speeds of up to 322 kilometers per hour. This book highlights the history of Formula One racing, qualifying rounds leading up to the Grand Prix, different types of racing circuits, and race day regulations and procedures, including a description of the various coloured flags and their meanings. Other topics include members of the race team, such as the chief of design, the chief of aerodynamics and the pit crew, safety features of the cars and the clothing and gear worn by drivers, and race officials and sponsors.

     Muscle cars are two-door mid-sized coupes characterized by large powerful engines, bright colors, and plastic decals. Some examples are the 1961 Chevy Impala, the 1964 Ford Thunderbird, and the 1964 Pontiac GTO. In fact, most of Muscle Cars is devoted to specific models of cars that were popular in the 1960s. The book explains the difference between a regular V8 engine and a hemi and also features automotive designers, engineers and mechanics, all of whom played a role in the fierce competition between car manufacturers to produce more powerful engines after the great success of the GTO. Though muscle cars waned in popularity in the 1970s, they made a comeback a decade later, and, in 2006, car manufacturers have reintroduced concept cars, one example being the Dodge Challenger. Finally, in a cautionary note, the author describes legal and illegal street racing and warns readers of the dangers.

      Attracting millions of fans, both the people who attend races and those who watch them on television, NASCAR is wildly popular. NASCAR, an acronym for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, holds a number of different racing series and has a variety of track styles. Much of the information in NASCAR is similar to that of Formula One- the history of the sport, the qualifying rounds, safety gear and car design. Readers will recognize the names and faces of some of the drivers featured- Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon.

      Street Cred refers to a culture which had its start in the late 1930s in California, when vehicles were modified to change their appearance and enhance their performance. After the Second World War, cruising down the street in an American-made car was a favourite pastime of Detroit teens, while in the 1990s, street racing in "tuner" cars caught on in Los Angeles and spread to other American cities. Featured in this book is information about low riders and the special accessories- neon lights, velvet upholstery and flame designs- used to customize the exterior and interior of the vehicles, as well as the history of hot rods and tuner cars. Other topics include extreme car makeovers, soft goods (those accessories which do not affect a car's performances, for instance, mini fridges, DVD players and flat-panel TVs), functional accessories such as global positioning systems, tires, rims, and sound systems, and a special section devoted to the art of customizing vehicles with intricate airbrush designs. Of all the books reviewed, this is the one most readers will enjoy.

      Sweet Rides covers the history of those automobiles whose distinctive styling, high performance and luxury status turn heads. Many of these cars are rare, mainly due to their high price tags and limited editions; some are customized, but others are not. Cars included in this category are sports cars, luxury cars, SUVs, convertibles and retro rides (new models of older vehicles). The majority of this book is devoted to specific models in each category. For example, the Cadillac, Lincoln, Rolls-Royce, Jaguar, Mercedes and BMW are all featured in the section about luxury cars, while the Corvette, Mustang, Camaro, MG, Ferrari, Porsche and Lamborghini are representative of the sports car group. This title, too, will be checked out often.

      Those readers who particularly enjoy history will find plenty of it in Vintage Cars 1919-1930. The majority of the book is devoted to the development and growing popularity of the automobile, mass production and the assembly lines in early car manufacturing plants, the inventions, such as better brake systems, which made the cars safer, and how car advertisements changed as the popularity of the automobile grew and more women were working away from the home. Other topics include the contributions of car designers from various parts of the globe, the origin of major car races, and the development of sports cars and luxury cars. Finally, the book mentions the growing trend toward collecting vintage cars and the many hobby groups or clubs that have sprung up in recent years.

      Bound to be of great interest, especially to boys (and maybe even their dads), these titles are definitely worthy of purchase.

Recommended.

Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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