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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Transported: 50 Vehicles That Changed the World by Matt Ralphs, Illustrated by Rui Ricardo


Coming across this gem, it occurred to me what a snooze-fest so many children’s transport books are: a bunch of stock photos cobbled together with some insipid descriptions and tacky design. No, this handsome tome has heft - in terms of both its satisfying weight in your hands and the significance of the vehicles it highlights: those that changed life irrevocably for humans.


Thanks to these ingenious inventions, we can now traverse distances once unimaginable, unfathomable, across land and sea - not to mention the sky or even space…


The journey begins in our own backyard, thousands of years ago, with the double-hulled canoes Polynesians used to explore and migrate across the Pacific, and ends in modern times with the likes of solar-powered aeroplanes, the Mars rover and electric bikes.


Along the way you’ll change the face of warfare atop a Bronze Age horse-drawn chariot; soar into the sky aloft a hot-air balloon; loop around London on a double-decker omnibus; do the work of dozens with a single combine harvester; plunge the lightless depths of the Pacific aboard the Trieste, whiz across a white landscape on a snowmobile…


Each vehicle has its own double-page spread consisting of a glorious hero illustration, well-written blurbs beautifully laid across the page, a Facts and Stats box, and concluding with a “how this vehicle changed the world” wrap-up. The last pages of the book gently and thoughtfully remind us of the impact of modern vehicles on our environment, and end on a hopeful note: “The future of vehicles is exciting. Perhaps in a few decades time, there will be 50 new types of vehicles that will change the world all over again… Perhaps you will drive one yourself. Perhaps you’ll even invent one!”


Reviewer: Stacey Anyan

Nosy Crow / Allen & Unwin


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