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Crossing on Time: Steam Engines, Fast Ships, and a Journey to the New World

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Prior to the 1800s, ships crossing the Atlantic Ocean relied on the wind in their sails to make their journeys. But the invention of steam power ushered in a new era of transportation that would change ocean travel forever: the steamship. Author-illustrator David Macaulay guides readers through the history that culminated in the building of the most advanced—and last—of the Prior to the 1800s, ships crossing the Atlantic Ocean relied on the wind in their sails to make their journeys. But the invention of steam power ushered in a new era of transportation that would change ocean travel forever: the steamship. Author-illustrator David Macaulay guides readers through the history that culminated in the building of the most advanced—and last—of these steamships: the SS United States. This book explores the design and construction of the ship and the life of its designer and engineer, William Francis Gibbs.


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Prior to the 1800s, ships crossing the Atlantic Ocean relied on the wind in their sails to make their journeys. But the invention of steam power ushered in a new era of transportation that would change ocean travel forever: the steamship. Author-illustrator David Macaulay guides readers through the history that culminated in the building of the most advanced—and last—of the Prior to the 1800s, ships crossing the Atlantic Ocean relied on the wind in their sails to make their journeys. But the invention of steam power ushered in a new era of transportation that would change ocean travel forever: the steamship. Author-illustrator David Macaulay guides readers through the history that culminated in the building of the most advanced—and last—of these steamships: the SS United States. This book explores the design and construction of the ship and the life of its designer and engineer, William Francis Gibbs.

30 review for Crossing on Time: Steam Engines, Fast Ships, and a Journey to the New World

  1. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Pretty much all of the technical part of this book (in other words, most of it), about how steam engines and turbines work glided painlessly over my head. But I loved the framing story, and I really, really love ocean liners. Why? They're just neat, and really big. I enjoyed learning about the SS United States, and am trying to decide how worthwhile it might be to visit the Ikea in Philadelphia, from the cafe of which you get a view of pier 82 where the Atlantic crossing record holder has been q Pretty much all of the technical part of this book (in other words, most of it), about how steam engines and turbines work glided painlessly over my head. But I loved the framing story, and I really, really love ocean liners. Why? They're just neat, and really big. I enjoyed learning about the SS United States, and am trying to decide how worthwhile it might be to visit the Ikea in Philadelphia, from the cafe of which you get a view of pier 82 where the Atlantic crossing record holder has been quietly disintegrating for the last twenty years.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kaethe Douglas

    I'm not finished yet, but this is awesome! It starts with the Macaulay family preparing to emigrate to the US from the UK in the 50s. Then we go back to the difficulty of pumping out mines and follow the development of the steam engine and the incremental improvements to the technology over time. Then we get the history of steamships in general, the importance of speed and safety in international shipping, and then the detailed construction of the United States, the ship the Macaulays sailed on. I'm not finished yet, but this is awesome! It starts with the Macaulay family preparing to emigrate to the US from the UK in the 50s. Then we go back to the difficulty of pumping out mines and follow the development of the steam engine and the incremental improvements to the technology over time. Then we get the history of steamships in general, the importance of speed and safety in international shipping, and then the detailed construction of the United States, the ship the Macaulays sailed on. The net result is captivating: you get to look at so much that it kind of feels like a Seek and Find with a point. The fold-out of the completed ship is one of the coolest things I've ever seen. Macaulay's work has always been very pleasing, but if you'd asked a week ago I wouldn't have said I was particularly interested in engines, how they work, or shipbuilding. Obviously, it's going to be a hit with anyone who does already have an interest in those. But these pictures are worth more than any number of words: concepts which aren't easily explained in words become perfectly clear and comprehensible in these layouts. Possibly more when I finish, but if not, I highly recommend the book. Everyone will find something in here to enjoy. *** Finished. Lots of good backmatter, for those who care. Library copy

  3. 4 out of 5

    KC

    A detailed look at how steam engines are made and their use.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC from Edelweiss Plus This was very lovely, and while I am personally enthralled by steam ships and transatlantic crossings, I just don't see this ever being checked out. Macaulay's Motel of the Mysteries (1979) is still one of my all time favorites, but it never circulates. A must for public libraries.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mary Hollowell

    David Macaulay's new children's book CROSSING ON TIME is best for its autobiographic sections. It also shows the details of a 20th Century transatlantic cruise ship, from top to bottom, and it is drawn in his characteristic pen & ink and watercolor wash. The multiple perspectives are interesting, from overhead looking down to beneath the waves looking up. (As someone, who used to snorkel and scrape barnacles from the keels of boats, I especially appreciate the latter.) Page 94 shows the scop David Macaulay's new children's book CROSSING ON TIME is best for its autobiographic sections. It also shows the details of a 20th Century transatlantic cruise ship, from top to bottom, and it is drawn in his characteristic pen & ink and watercolor wash. The multiple perspectives are interesting, from overhead looking down to beneath the waves looking up. (As someone, who used to snorkel and scrape barnacles from the keels of boats, I especially appreciate the latter.) Page 94 shows the scope of the ship, from alongside, with a bellowing smokestack. This reference book is intriguing and will reach a wide audience.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Pat

    David Macaulay, author and illustrator of Pyramid and The Way Things Work, has written a combination autobiographical work about his immigration to the US from Britain in 1957 at the age of 10 and his examination of the steamship, the SS United States, that he traveled on to America. This title is divided into 4 sections, the first, a history of steamships including the inventions that led to the steamship, the second, biographical information about the Gibbs brothers, the designers of the ship, David Macaulay, author and illustrator of Pyramid and The Way Things Work, has written a combination autobiographical work about his immigration to the US from Britain in 1957 at the age of 10 and his examination of the steamship, the SS United States, that he traveled on to America. This title is divided into 4 sections, the first, a history of steamships including the inventions that led to the steamship, the second, biographical information about the Gibbs brothers, the designers of the ship, the SS United States, the third, the actual designing and building of the ship, and the fourth, Macaulay's immigration to the United States. Ocean liners who received the honor of the Blue Riband award, given to the fastest westbound ocean liner crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a given year, a complete 6 page pull out cross section diagram of the SS United States, and a comparison of ocean liners beside the Empire State Building (laid out prone on its side) are just a few of the remarkable images in the book. Each page is filled with meticulous drawings, diagrams, and photographs to engage the reader. An afterword, timeline, and selected reading complete the volume. At 127 pages, the title can be read in one sitting. Macaulay's remembrances of his childhood are poignant with his favorite books from childhood and infatuation with the Empire State Building. Another superb title by Macaulay.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Gretchen

    I love how this book must have begun for David Macaulay. When he was young, his mother, his brother and he rode on the ship the United States. It was a steamship that became one of the fastest of its time. Starts by telling us that he is going on the voyage and then heads back in time to the beginning of steam engine technology. As he builds the story he shares very detailed information about how the technology progressed, what was still needed, and how it changed our culture, especially in the I love how this book must have begun for David Macaulay. When he was young, his mother, his brother and he rode on the ship the United States. It was a steamship that became one of the fastest of its time. Starts by telling us that he is going on the voyage and then heads back in time to the beginning of steam engine technology. As he builds the story he shares very detailed information about how the technology progressed, what was still needed, and how it changed our culture, especially in the area of transportation. As in all of Macaulay's books, this one offers amazing pictures with detailed diagrams and clear explanations of how things work. While he talks about many different ships, he focuses on the United States and its designers, the Gibbs brothers. As steamships are not necessarily my area of interest at this depth, I did feel it felt a little lengthy in the explanation of the building of the United States, but overall it kept my interest about a topic I knew little about and had not previously thought I was interested in. I could definitely see recommending this book to students as a great read and/or a great mentor text for informational writing.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    David Macaulay does it again - a fabulous book on a very complicated piece of mechanical wonder. This book deserves an award! Macaulay has a way of not only illustrating his work (one can see the years of architectural study in his drawings) but also writing in such a way that a 5th grader could understand it. And if a 5th grader could understand it, then an adult like me could too. I only wish my dad was still with us to read this book. He would have thoroughly enjoyed reading about the history David Macaulay does it again - a fabulous book on a very complicated piece of mechanical wonder. This book deserves an award! Macaulay has a way of not only illustrating his work (one can see the years of architectural study in his drawings) but also writing in such a way that a 5th grader could understand it. And if a 5th grader could understand it, then an adult like me could too. I only wish my dad was still with us to read this book. He would have thoroughly enjoyed reading about the history of steam engines and fast ships! As I was reading, the illustrations and reading kept building until I turned to page 86. Oh Wow! Pages 87 through 94 include a full layout on 6 pages of the US United States! Talk about fun! I loved the drawings of the rooms and imagining what the characters in those rooms were doing. Macaulay transported me into a luxury liner and had me imagining what life at that time must have been like. And then... he goes on to tell about his family's history on it. What a book! Keep reading to the very end. I don't want to spoil the last few pages. All I can say is WOW! What a great book. I see why it took years to write. Good job!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Peg

    Macaulay weaves his own story into this book, scattered between all the fantastic drawings and technological explanations one expects in his books. He traces the development of the steam engine through the building and sailing of the United States, the ship on which Macaulay and his family crossed the Atlantic to make their home in America. His early and continuing obsession with and first reaction to the Empire State Building help frame the story. Readers can read this book several ways and on Macaulay weaves his own story into this book, scattered between all the fantastic drawings and technological explanations one expects in his books. He traces the development of the steam engine through the building and sailing of the United States, the ship on which Macaulay and his family crossed the Atlantic to make their home in America. His early and continuing obsession with and first reaction to the Empire State Building help frame the story. Readers can read this book several ways and on several levels. In any case, they most likely will return to the drawings multiple times. Personally, I loved the pages showing the building of the United States, rising from nothing!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    A great, short book about the development of steamships and, specifically, the building of the S.S. United States, upon which the author (David Macaulay) sailed as a young boy as an emigrant from Great Britain to the U.S. Excellent hand-drawn illustrations by the author.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    An excellent history and homage to the grand old lady of the seas, the “United States”. The additional detailed look at the early history of steamships is also highly informative. Once the “United States” opens as a hotel/museum I know where I’ll be spending my next vacation.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lynne Marie

    So much effort went into this book in both text and art.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    Amazing coverage of steamship history anchored in personal histories. Should be short - listed for the caldecott!!

  14. 5 out of 5

    PWRL

    SM

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nick Van

    A lovely book, informative as every Macaulay book, with a touch of his own personal story. A worthy addition to his collection of works.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Susan

  17. 4 out of 5

    Julie Williams

  18. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Labonte

  19. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Hugh

  20. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

  21. 5 out of 5

    Scott Loftesness

  22. 4 out of 5

    Audrey

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jen

  24. 5 out of 5

    Susanne

  25. 5 out of 5

    Shauna Yusko

  26. 4 out of 5

    Richard

  27. 5 out of 5

    Leaves L

  28. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Cheresnick

  29. 5 out of 5

    Carl Sanders

  30. 5 out of 5

    Carol

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