GRAPHIC NOVELS

Cars: Engines That Move You

First Second. (Science Comics). May 2019. 128p. bibliog. glossary. notes. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781626728219; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781626728226.
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Gr 4-7–Though more of a history of automobiles than a study of their technology, this “Science Comics” entry does dive beneath the hood to highlight electrical and other systems, along with simple explanations of two- and four-cycle internal combustion engines. Zettwoch offers clear, labeled cutaway views as necessary, but he plainly takes more delight in portraying the wild and crazy variety of cars that have come down the pike over the past century and a half—from the spidery putt-putt of Karl Benz that his intrepid wife Bertha took for a 120-mile spin in 1888 to the sleek Tesla Roadster that was sent into space with a mannequin “astronaut” behind the wheel in 2018. In between, the author treats fans to a colorful parade of experimental models, racers, popular classics, and hybrid and electrical cars, capped by exuberant galleries of commercial vehicles (no fewer than 100 types squeezed onto four teeming pages), “weird cars” like the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, head-on views of “car faces,” and horns of diverse design. His closing resource list includes more systematic introductions to what he terms the “science-y stuff,” as well as leads to specialty magazines, relevant comics, and comprehensive car histories.
VERDICT This breezy spin through the past, present, and (near) future of cars and related vehicles speeds down a well-traveled road, but its graphic format will give it particular appeal to readers years away from learner’s permits

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