How Machines Work: Zoo Break!

by David Macaulay (Author)

How Machines Work: Zoo Break!
Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade

Award-winning artist David Macaulay introduces readers to his hilarious new creations, Sloth and Sengi, in How Machines Work: Zoo Break!

Complete with a unique jacket with an interactive compound machine incorporating several of the simple mechanisms featured in the book, How Machines Work: Zoo Break! uses models and illustrations to demonstrate the technology of six simple machines: levers, pulleys, screws, inclined planes, wedges, and wheels.

Follow the mad antics of Sloth and his sidekick Sengi as they try to find their way out of the zoo with the help of machines. Their efforts are brought to life through novelty elements including pop-ups, pull-outs, and lift-the-flaps, allowing readers to explore in greater depth how and why machines work. Spreads highlight the use of simple machines in everyday objects, such as scissors and clocks, mixers and whisks, bikes and brakes, while the story contains clear and simple text to engage the reader.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

Expertly blending comedy with a substantive look at physics and mechanics, Macaulay stages a lesson about simple machines at a zoo, where a sloth and shrew are attempting to escape. Short paragraphs explain the basic engineering behind levers, wheels, pulleys, and more ("A lever is simply a bar that tilts on a fulcrum") as the two animals comically test out their contraptions in episodic sequences (readers can even build a seesaw and try to launch the sloth and shrew over a fence). A final, foldout spread reveals their most elaborate machine yet, which resembles a roller coaster and incorporates all of the devices they have used so far. It doesn't work as they hoped, but readers will be delighted to see their ingenuity rewarded. Ages 7-10. (Nov.)

Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"Youngsters will be eager to get their hands on this simply amazing book." — Booklist (Starred Review)

"Expertly blending comedy with a substantive look at physics and mechanics." — Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

"With much use of flaps, pop-ups, and inset booklets, the author expands on the comical plotline with glimpses of construction machinery, hydraulics, and several types of levers in action." — Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

..".a vivid interactive introduction to simple scientific principles all neatly wrapped up in a story." —

"This ingenious, entertaining, sturdily built book is sure to get the wheels turning for young engineers-in-the-works." — Shelf Awareness for Readers

"As robust and inviting a physical book as you can possibly get." — The New York Times Book Review

"Illustrated with humor and affection...easily keeps the reader's attention." —

"In today's STEM-centric world, it can be difficult to sift through all the available STEM books and find the perfect introductory text for children... How Machines Work: Zoo Break! does just that." — The Children's Book Review

David Macaulay

David Macaulay is the author and illustrator of more than twenty-five books including Cathedral, Pyramid, and Castle. His ground-breaking The Way Things Work has become a modern classic. He won the Caldecott Medal for Black and White. He lives in Vermont.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley)
Publication date
October 20, 2015

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