See Inside How Things Work by Conrad Mason and Illustrated by Colin King

See Inside How Things Work

See Inside How Things Work by Conrad Mason and Illustrated by Colin King. Ages 4 – 8. 16 pgs. Usborne. September 2009.  Nonfiction.

The Short:  I was so happy when I found this book.  It enabled me to sit down with my son and look inside various things to see how they work.  It is well illustrated and well labeled so I could deftly answer his, “What’s that?” questions as they came in rapid fire.  I purchased this book from Amazon site unseen and have no regrets.  In fact, this is a highly recommended book that both my son and I really enjoy.  My husband also has commented on how much he likes it.  I’m sure if your kiddo is interested in how things work, this book will be able to appease them.   I think it is appropriate for ages 2 on, but younger than 3(ish) will probably need supervision with the flaps.

The Long:  My son’s favorite question is, “What’s that?”  He also loves any kind of machine:  the vacuum cleaner was his first love followed by the mixer and then the blender.  For his second birthday we spent the day blending as many things as I could think of.  It was sad, he had a horrendous cold so we cancelled his birthday party — but he didn’t show an iota of disappointed.  All he wanted was for me to, “Blend!”  That seemed to please him well enough.  I don’t think I’ll be able to get away with that for any more birthdays.

My son seems so smitten with machines that when I saw the book See Inside How Things Work on Amazon one day — I bought it sight unseen.  This isn’t typical for me.  I usually buy books that are known true loves if I buy them new.  Yet, I wasn’t disappointed with this book at all.  We’ve looked at it a lot.

This book is a lift the flap book that covers simple machines, construction vehicles, cars, bicycles, musical instruments, plumbing, planes, helicopters, hot air balloons, boats, electronics (vacuum cleaner, but sadly no mixers or blenders), elevators, and escalators.  It is impressive how much is packed into this book.  I like how durable the flaps are and sometimes there are even flaps within flaps so that you can see further into the machine.  The parts of the machines are labeled so almost every time my son asks, “What’s that?”  I can tell him.

I think this book is very well designed and while there is a lot packed into it — they successfully avoid trying to cram too much in.  I’ve learned a lot and it seems that my son has, too. But, I definitely don’t think he’s going to outgrow this book any time soon.  I think we’ll be looking at this book over and over for years to come.  This book acts like a great spring board into looking more in-depth into how things work.  This book successfully lives up to its title.

The only thing I need to watch with my son is with the flaps.  While they are the sturdiest flaps I’ve seen anywhere — it is still entirely possible for him to rip them off if he gets too rough with them.  I’m sure the age recommendation for this book is 4 – 8 but as long as you sit down and go through this book with your kiddo, I don’t think the age matters. I can’t just hand this book for to him look through by himself when I need to do something, but that’s really not a big deal and as he gets older it’ll be even less of an issue.

Oh, one more thing, this book is published by Usborne.  While I really like a lot of their stuff, for whatever reason, my library carries almost none of their books.  I’m not sure why that is, but don’t be too surprised if your library doesn’t carry it.  That isn’t a reflection on the book.

Where Obtained:  Purchased from Amazon

FTC Disclosures: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” If you click on the link and purchase the book, I will receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


  1. This is a very cool book, I agree. I acquired it for my nephew a while back…then I wanted to keep it because it had so many cool flaps to lift. I eventually gave it to him. *sniff* The flaps are probably all ruined by now…


What Do You Think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: