Crossing on Time: Steam Engines, Fast Ships, and a Journey to the New World

Ages: 8 and upPublisher: Macmillan USA Author/Illustrator: David Macaulay


In England in September of 1957, ten-year-old David Macaulay, his brother, sister, and mother stepped aboard the steamship, SS United States, to travel to New York to join their father in America. Already enamored with the British steamships, this journey across the Atlantic in the world’s fastest steamship made an indelible impression on young David.

This boy became the renowned author/illustrator of books explaining complex technical aspects of the world to the young. Here, Macaulay has written and illustrated a biography of this last great steamship upon which he traveled more than five decades ago.  Starting before steam engines were even invented, Macaulay takes the reader through the stages of development into the era where steam was harnessed and used to power the great ships. Via the large, beautiful format and frequent dramatic double-page spreads and the explanatory, detailed illustrations we learn of the men, particularly the brothers, William and Fredrick Gibbs, whose passionate work was designing these ships and ultimately bringing them to fruition. The SS United States was their pièce de résistance.

Kemie Nix ©2019 Parents’ Choice

Kemie Nix is Chairman of Children’s Literature for Children (CLC), a non-profit, tax-exempt, educational organization dedicated to bringing children and books together. Mrs. Nix, a senior book editor for Parents’ Choice, has a remarkable sense of selecting books children love to read.

Available here