From Union Station to the Lincoln Memorial, Jakobsen’s double-page spreads depict the monuments and structures in Washington, D.C., that are highest in child appeal.
Readers are invited to search each diverse, Where’s Waldo–esque crowd for two white tourists named Becky and Martin, a cat, and a total of 40 eagles and 300 stars. It is the oil paintings, however, that make this book memorable. The artist captures the grandeur of the city’s classical marble columns and ornamentation as found inside the Capitol and the Library of Congress. Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin and fireworks behind the Washington Monument are enlivened through vivid patches of pointillism; a gatefold opening offers scale regarding the obelisk. Jakobsen mentions selected items from three of the most popular museums and, in a current detail, includes a visit to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. She wisely chooses not to portray a particular president (thus immediately dating the presentation) but employs a folk-art style to squeeze an enormous quantity of presidential pets on the White House grounds. The narrative combines a rather contrived, first-person-plural travelogue with facts and legends; the seams show. It is also highly unlikely that two kids would visit 12 sites in one day, much less alone.
Nevertheless, the visuals and rather challenging hide-and-seek component will make this a popular introduction to or souvenir from the nation’s capital. (map, facts, websites, artist’s note) (Informational picture book. 6-9)