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Mr. Ferris and His Wheel Hardcover – Picture Book, September 2, 2014

4.7 out of 5 stars 193 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

K-Gr 3—It's almost time for the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, and American architects are hoping to design a star attraction to rival the French Eiffel Tower. Mechanical engineer George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. has a daring idea: a huge, round, moving structure made from steel, a new metal unrivaled in both lightness and strength. After overcoming obstacles ranging from mockery to quicksand, Ferris and his team finally complete their wheel, which delights fairgoers and goes on to become a staple of fairgrounds around the world. Librarians familiar with Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City (Random, 2002) already know this story, but the focus here is less on the Chicago World's Fair and more on the process involved in building a mechanical marvel. Details such as why support structures were necessary and how tension wheels work will engage emerging engineers, while those with a less scientific bent can nevertheless appreciate the excitement felt by the Ferris Wheel's very first passengers. The primary story is told in an easy-to-read serif font, and secondary details are added in smaller sans-serif sections. A purple-dominated color scheme contrasts with occasional greens and yellows. Overall, the modernist look, inherently interesting topic, and strong documentation (including quotations from primary sources) make this title a positive addition, especially those looking to enhance their nonfiction offerings in view of new Common Core standards.—Jill Ratzan, I. L. Peretz Community Jewish School, Somerset, NJ

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Ten months before the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, there was still no centerpiece to rival that of the previous fair’s Eiffel Tower. Enter young engineer George Washington Gale Ferris Jr., who had a vision of a structure not only tall but also rigged for motion. Having no better choices, fair organizers begrudgingly accepted his proposal but offered not a cent of funding. With but four months to go, George scrambled for funding and materials, most of it a newfangled metal called “steel,” including a 70-ton axle, “the largest piece of steel ever forged.” The harried workers struggled with frozen Chicago ground, unexpected quicksand, more than 100,000 parts, and, most of all, the derision of onlookers who found the spindly-looking contraption undignified and sure to collapse in high winds. But it didn’t—rather, it ascended heavenward into both day and night skies, offering unparalleled views from its posh living-room-sized passenger cars. Like Mr. Ferris’ invention, Davis’ picture-book bio soars, inspires, and keeps (the pages) ever turning, matching the gregarious text to smaller, often tech-based side comments. Ford’s impressionistic, wine-colored washes blend a fantastical mood with a staggering sense of mechanical scale. It’s tough to awe readers with a ride with which they are so familiar, but Davis and Ford pull it off. Grab your tickets; here we go. Grades 1-3. --Daniel Kraus

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Product details

  • Publisher : HMH Books for Young Readers; Illustrated edition (September 2, 2014)
  • Language : English
  • Hardcover : 40 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0547959222
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0547959221
  • Reading age : 6 - 10 years
  • Lexile measure : 900L
  • Item Weight : 1 pounds
  • Dimensions : 10 x 0.47 x 10 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 193 ratings

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
193 global ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on September 5, 2014
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Top reviews from other countries

esteban68
4.0 out of 5 stars Great story for kids (and adults actually)
Reviewed in Canada on January 7, 2017
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