________________ CM . . . . Volume V Number 12 . . . . February 12, 1999

cover Stephen Biesty's Everything Incredible.

Richard Platt. Illustrated by Stephen Biesty.
Richmond Hill, ON: Scholastic Canada, 1997.
32 pp, hardcover, $22.95.
ISBN 0-590-12406-4.

Subject Headings:
Technology-Pictorial works-Juvenile literature.
Manufactures-Pictorial works-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4 - 8 / Ages 9 - 13.
Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4


  1. Construction starts with the pipes; those that produce low notes are huge, but the high-pitched pipes would fit into your pocket.
  2. Both the case and the internal mechanism are constructed in the organ-builder's workshop. Then the instrument is assembled on site.
  3. Air passing through rows of metal and wooden pipes gives the organ its voice. Every kind of pipe makes a distinct sound. Each key opens the supply of air to the pipes of a certain pitch.
  4. Air can blow into a particular row of pipes only when the organist pulls out a stop, so that three sets of holes line up to allow the air through.
  5. By stopping rows of pipes from sounding, the organist can vary the sound of the organ.
  6. A complex mechanism of rods links the keyboard and stops to the valves and sliders.
  7. A bellows supplies the organ with air.
Fans of Stephen Biesty's cross-section books will enjoy his latest endeavor. Through a series of diagrams and step-by-step explanations, this book reveals the secrets of how 37 everyday things are made. From the very simple, such as doughnuts, plywood and soap, to the very complex, such as compact discs, nuclear power and the Saturn V rocket, these topics will fascinate readers.

      The pages are absolutely crammed with text and illustrations, thus the text is very small. Though the author explains some of the concepts by way of considerate text, readers require some scientific knowledge in order to understand fully many of the processes involved in producing the featured objects.

      Numbered steps help readers to follow along. For the most part, these steps are in a linear order, but sometimes, due to the need to have explanations on either side of the main drawing, readers' eyes must dart back and forth in order to make sense of it all.

      Complex, detailed colour illustrations, often as many as four per step in the process being described, further readers' understanding. Where additional clarification is necessary, Chester the Tester, a character "guide" who appears on every page (and bears a striking resemblance to the author) provides the answers. A table of contents and an index are included..

      To call this book's format "busy" would be an understatement. For this reason alone, it might not appeal to everyone who has an interest in its subject matter. A most ambitious undertaking on the part of its creators, this book certainly lives up to its title.


Gail Hamilton is the teacher-librarian at Bird's Hill School, East St. Paul, Manitoba.

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

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364