CITIES by Libby Walden


From the "In Focus" series
Age Range: 9 - 14
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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)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-944530-08-2
Page count: 28pp
Publisher: 360 Degrees
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2017


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