Full Speed Ahead! How Fast Things Go, by Crushiform; Abrams Books for Young Readers, $18.95, 64 pages, ages 4-8.
This bright and zippy book compares the speed of movement for various animals and transportation. For example, at 50km/h (30 mph,) a blue whale coasts along at the same rate as a cargo ship, while the Apollo 11 spacecraft cruises alone at 40,000km/h (25,000 mph). In each spread, the rate of speed is given in huge type on the left, and is accompanied by an equally bold image on the right, and the rate of speed increases incrementally. (The speed is given first in kilometers, then in miles per hour in slightly smaller size.) Originally published in French under the title À Toute Vitesse, Parisian-based Cruschiform studios created the bold illustrations using spot color printing technique. Similar to screen painting, spot color printing was used by artists in the 1950s to reproduce images, and here, the bold colors and retro illustrations are eye-catching and easily accessible to young readers. The glossary includes further information about the moving objects, as well as a definition of speed. It is a perfect introductory picture dictionary for little speedsters. Onward and upward.