‘The Way Things Work Now’ by David Macaulay

My son recently discovered David Macaulay’s The Way Things Work Now at the library, and he has been utterly engrossed by it. It’s the 2016 update to the classic 1998 version, The New Way Things Work, which itself was an update to the original The Way Things Work from 1988.

What these versions all have in common is that they introduce kids to the inner workings of everyday machines in an entertaining and informative way. Notice that wooly mammoth on the cover above? Miniature versions of those guys make appearances (often as “operators” of sorts) throughout the comprehensive and playful diagrams of machines, which range from basic levers and gears to modern gadgets and music instruments:



From the description:

Famously packed with information on the inner workings of everything from windmills to Wi-Fi, this extraordinary and humorous book both guides readers through the fundamental principles of machines, and shows how the developments of the past are building the world of tomorrow. This sweepingly revised edition embraces all of the latest developments, from touchscreens to 3D printer. Each scientific principle is brilliantly explained–with the help of a charming, if rather slow-witted, woolly mammoth.

An illustrated survey of significant inventions closes the book, along with a glossary of technical terms, and an index. What possible link could there be between zippers and plows, dentist drills and windmills? Parking meters and meat grinders, jumbo jets and jackhammers, remote control and rockets, electric guitars and egg beaters? Macaulay explains them all.

Get the book in these formats: