cover image Mr. Ferris and His Wheel

Mr. Ferris and His Wheel

Kathryn Gibbs Davis, illus. by Gilbert Ford. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-547-95922-1

With the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair on the horizon, American engineer George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. won a design contest for what would become the Ferris wheel, a “structure that would dazzle and move, not just stand still like the Eiffel Tower” (the star of the previous World Fair). Despite naysayers (“It’s undignified,” grouses one onlooker), George and his crew plowed forward with plans for the giant, circular steel structure, unveiling the machine at the fair’s opening. Davis delivers a tense and satisfying underdog story, while Ford creates a stylized 19th-century landscape, setting impressionistic backgrounds against the hard-edged geometric shapes of the wheel and other structures, colored in deep, subdued blues and violets. Direct quotations and captions explaining historical detail keep the context of the story in sharp focus. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Sept.)