Processes of production

26th December 1997 at 00:00
Stephen Biesty's Incredible Everything. Dorling Kindersley Pounds 12.99.

The incredibly detailed and informative books of Stephen Biesty will be well known to many readers. His latest, Incredible Everything, continues the tradition of producing finely drawn, large-scale illustrations of everyday items opened-up and explained for all to see. This book is worthy of a place in any library or resource centre.

The theme of the book is how things are made. An overall picture of a crowded modern city provides the context for detailed descriptions of the production of such items as compact discs, matches, newspapers and false teeth. The museum in Biesty's imaginary city provides an opportunity to include sectionson armour and steam locomotives.

Alongside a modern jet airliner, a fold-out double-page spread describes the full range of different manufacturing processes used in the construction of the Saturn V moon rocket, itself now a museum piece.

The range is diverse and quirky: children will be fascinated by the pictorial description of the ancient Egyptian process of embalming just as they will by the manufacture of a motor car or chocolate bar.

Sometimes, as with the new design of a sports shoe, one is left wanting more.

The writing is compact and precise. Each picture has a wealth of detail to intrigue the reader. To help with explanations, "Chester the Tester" provides clarification and, in the publisher's words "humorous asides" - though the joke is not always obvious.

Although produced for the children's market, this book might also be of interest to older students who want a basic introduction to manufacturing. It is a very good read for anyone who wants to become engrossed in the fine detail of how a doughnut is made.

Bob Welch

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