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RUSH HOUR by Christine Loomis


by Christine Loomis & illustrated by Mari Takabayashi

Age Range: 3 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-395-69129-X
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

 Rural readers unfamiliar with the pace of the urban rat race will be amused and enlightened by this excursion from suburbia to Manhattan as chronicled by Loomis (The Hippo Hop, 1995, etc.) and the astonishing Takabayashi. For a city children (and their parents, looking on), it may be too close to reality to be properly appreciated. The verse dashes through two rush hours (``Rumbling,/Roaring,/Jiggling,/Jumping''), as people in cars, buses, trains, buses, on foot, and on bikes participate in a mad scramble to get where they need to be in the morning and head frantically back home at night. In between, they are depicted working mostly without cheer at their jobs. In this Koyaanisqatsi with words, the sheer number of busy illustrations is fatiguing, the pacing jars, and the repetition of blank, anonymous faces (or, more often, angry and obviously stressed visages) is frightening. While adults may appreciate the irony (intended or not), and children will gain a certain amount of gratification from poring over the crammed images, the book imparts a sense of harried hopelessness that's almost overwhelming. (Picture book. 3-8)