Welcome to my Build Your Own Homeschool Library series where I'm sharing with my readers some of my favorite books from my homeschool shelf. Please note that all the posts in this series contain my own opinions, and I have not been compensated by any publishing company for any of the content.
The Way Things Work is one of my all-time favorite books. Author David Macauley explains the innerworkings of things with the help of friendly mammoth and a healthy dose of humor. He painstakingly illustrates the structure and and function of a variety of machines, from the simple lever to fusion reactors.
David Macauley's quirky illustrations and succinct explanations help children easily grasp challenging concepts. Keep this book on your shelf and you'll (almost) always have a ready answer when your child asks you "How does that work?"
How we use the book
My children have enjoyed pulling The Way Things Work off the shelf just to look through it on their own, but more often we've looked up a specific topic when we want to learn about it. It's never been a regular part of our curriculum, but it's been used as a go-to resource frequently. Several living-books-based homeschool programs include The Way Things Work as a major component of their elementary and middle school science curriculums.
Where to find the books
There are several editions of this book, the most recent being The New Way Things Work (with the word 'New' added to the title), published in 1998. You're likely to find this book in just about any online or brick-and-mortar bookstore, both new or used. This large hardback retails for $35, so you'll want to do some research to find a good deal. I purchased my copy at Half-Price Books for around $12 with my educator's discount card.
View a subject-by-subject list of all the posts in the Build Your Own Homeschool Library series here.