A swarm of facts and images about 15 locations spaced all around the globe.
These thronging pages are as busy as a Waldo experience, except the point here is variety. Each location gets a two-page spread highlighting a dozen features that give it character, color, and even whimsy. The locations range from New York to Ulaanbaatar, Alice Springs to Cape Town, Moscow to the Galápagos. Martin’s selection of distinctive features is sure-handed: the doorkeepers of Cairo, the colorful rooftops of Reykjavik, the cheeses and cafes of Paris, the botecos in Rio de Janeiro, the salarymen and ramen noodles of Tokyo. The top-shelf watercolors capture the essence of the thing being described, whether it be Moscow’s stray dogs or New York’s manhole covers (caught in a moody drizzle). Sometimes the short explanations under the name of the object are jokey (“Coffee: Pronounced KAW-fee”), and sometimes they are chock full of information: New Delhi has the “world’s largest fleet of environmentally friendly gas-powered buses”; Arctic terns “travel 44,000 miles every year, the longest migration route of any animal”; and Tokyo’s Shibuya Crossing is the busiest in the world, with 100,000 pedestrians per hour. What’s covered is covered well, if glancingly; however, it’s a shame there’s no city from Africa’s beltline (where are Lagos, Nairobi, Kinshasa?), and Rio is the only South American metropolis highlighted.
A playful but incomplete introduction to the cultural geography of far-flung locations. (Informational picture book. 5-8)