Ten major world cities—New York, Rio, Paris, London, Rome, Moscow, Cairo, Istanbul, Tokyo, and Sydney—are presented in four-page gatefold sections.
The concept of the book is
attractive, but its execution, not so much. Each city is done by a different
artist, but the different palettes, styles, and layouts are jarring, with only
the typeface, sometimes hard to read on highly saturated backgrounds, as the
unifying feature. Some sections stand out: the stylized Tokyo section has a pop-Asian
look, and the magical buildings of Moscow catch the eye. The Rome section has a
boring dull-brown palette, and a strange, dark-orange haze hangs over Istanbul.
Although the book emphasizes the contemporary world, the Cairo section barely
mentions modern times. No sub-Saharan African city was selected for this very
Eurocentric production, first published in Great Britain. Although the
descriptive tagline (“Culture Character Civilization”) implies that this book
will focus on themes beyond facts and figures, buildings, bridges, monuments,
and their measurements seem to be the top priority. There is very little
child-centered material and just minimal information about the people who
supposedly created the “culture,” “character,” and “civilization” of these
cities. As with any survey of its ilk, the information offered is at best incomplete; the New York City coverage is largely of Manhattan, for instance, and an unglossed picture of "Shakespeare's Globe" does not reveal that it is a modern replica.
A missed opportunity to really excite young readers to learn about the world. (map) (Nonfiction. 9-14)