No, it isn't that Richard Scarry picture.
December 30, 2009 5:53 PM   Subscribe

Yet another children's book ID request: I had a children's book with intricate black-blue-and-white-only diagrams illustrating internal combustion engines. It was unusually scientifically detailed for its intended age range (I was about 5 when we owned it, but my very fuzzy memory suggests the description of the engine cycle would not have been out of place in freshman physics). It may, additionally, have been about trains. More details are inside.

Here's what I can recall, in decreasing order of certainty:

-- The illustrations were definitely black and blue ink only, not full-color and not B&W.
-- The diagrams showed the state of internal combustion engines, their pistons, etc. at various points in the stroke.
-- There was accompanying explanatory text which had a narrative feel, rather than just being captions to the awesome diagrams.
-- My copy was hardcover.
-- We owned this book in the late 80's. It may previously have belonged to my father, who was born in the 50's.
-- I'm pretty certain the book was wider than it was tall. (Maybe 6" x 10"? Maybe?)
-- I think the book was generally about trains, and also had diagrams of how train wheels were put together.
-- The book's cover may have been red (but I also read Mike Mulligan and his Steamshovel around the same time, so I might be conflating the two)

It's not much to go on, but Googling just gets me things I already know about the Stirling and Otto cycles. Please hope me, Metafilter!
posted by dorque to Science & Nature (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
No picture, but the timeframe and the description in the customer review for this book seems to match what you're looking for.
posted by alygator at 6:33 PM on December 30, 2009

I've never heard of it, but it sounds awesome. It also sounds like this, although I can't find any images online to confirm it. It's a kid's book about IC engines published in 1982 and featuring line drawings.
posted by DU at 6:37 PM on December 30, 2009

Wait, here is an image of the Olney book. Lots of blue, but I don't know about freshman physics...
posted by DU at 6:41 PM on December 30, 2009

Was it a British book?
posted by Dr.Pill at 6:57 PM on December 30, 2009

alygator, DU: nice find! My memory is that the drawings were almost textbook style, rather than kids-book-style, but I can request it from a nearby library and see what the inside is like.

Dr Pill: I'm in the US, but I have a couple other obscure British books from that era, so it's possible. I couldn't say for sure.
posted by dorque at 7:06 PM on December 30, 2009

Long shot, but Macaulay's The Way Things Work?
posted by carterk at 9:37 PM on December 30, 2009

The ebay link says the publication date is 1962. That could just be a typo from Amazon's date or it could be a different illustrator for two different editions.
posted by DU at 3:32 AM on December 31, 2009

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