A penguin guide conducts prospective tourists on a whirlwind flight over 28 world cities.
From Amsterdam to Washington, D.C., Li arranges her highly simplified aerial views in alphabetical order. Along with major streets and geographical features, she places on each a select assortment of thumbnail images of architectural highlights, plus comments on distinctive foods, festivals, sports, and other points of interest. Each proto-map also features a handful of arbitrary facts, from characteristic greetings (“Che!” for Buenos Aires, “Ahlan!” for Cairo, “Hey!” for Chicago) to the local language(s) and currency. If half of the chosen cities are in Europe or North America, the other continents (except Antarctica) are at least represented, and though her figures are stylized, the buildings are recognizable and the scattering of tiny humans diverse in dress and skin color. The flyover is sparse of detail and occasionally sloppy; Cairo and Mexico City are misplaced on the world map, for instance, and a head with a feathered bonnet labeled “Aboriginal Canadians” on the Toronto spread is at best an inadequate representation. Still, it provides young armchair travelers with tantalizing notions of each city’s treasures and character as well as a bit of map-reading practice. There is a small removable compass in the cover.
Problematic for libraries due to the detachable token, but like Mary Javins’ 3-D World Atlas and Tour (2008), the gimmick isn’t indispensable to the journey. (review quizzes) (Informational novelty. 6-8)