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COUNTRY KID, CITY KID by Julie Cummins

COUNTRY KID, CITY KID

By Julie Cummins (Author) , Ted Rand (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-8050-6467-2
Publisher: Henry Holt

Cummins (Tomboy of the Air, 2001, etc.) gives us her take on the comparison of country life to city life in this typical, but cheerful, rendering. Readers follow the lives of Ben, who lives on a farm, and Jody, who lives in an apartment building, as a side-by-side description of each child’s daily routine unfolds. When Ben wakes up he hears the sounds of birds and cows. When Jody wakes up she hears horns and sirens. Ben gets his mail at a mailbox down the road. Jody gets hers in the lobby of her apartment building—and so on. The author’s simple language has an instructional feel and so do Rand’s (Good Night, Hattie, My Dearie, My Dove, p. 345, etc.) skillfully detailed and literal watercolors. This combination comes off as a bit monotonous, but very accessible. What gives the narrative a nice twist is how Ben and Jody’s lives intersect towards the end. Every summer Ben goes away to Camp Eagle Ridge. Then readers find out that Jody “is excited about her first time at Camp Eagle Ridge.” The two meet at the camp, become friends, and afterwards Ben sends Jody a map of constellations he can see from his bedroom window. She sends him a city street map and marks her favorite places. Country life and city life seem as similar as they are different, but young readers might side with country life. Ben gets to cut down his own Christmas tree in the forest instead of buying it on the street like Jody. Ben also goes to Camp Eagle Ridge every year. What’s more, he has a dog. There’s something here for both kinds of kids to think about. (Picture book. 4-8)