I LIVE IN BROOKLYN by Mari Takabayashi


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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Takabayashi’s latest starts out promisingly. In the opening spread, six-year-old Michelle stands on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, the East River and Lower Manhattan behind her, and explains that Brooklyn is one of New York City’s five boroughs. It is separated from Manhattan, she says, by a river. A map of Brooklyn, with neighborhoods labeled, appears on the facing page. But her pictures never really give readers a feel for life in one of America’s largest and most diverse communities. The author/illustrator’s previous offering, I Live in Tokyo (2001), however, was widely praised as a satisfying primer on Japanese culture. In fact, it’s this diversity that’s missing from Takabayashi’s otherwise charmingly detailed watercolors. A bustling double-page spread of a farmer’s market (in Manhattan’s Union Square, no less) reveals a largely white crowd. Coney Island, as seen from a sky-high seat on the Wonder Wheel, is painfully pale. In the day-in-the-life/things-I-like-to-do-with-my-family genre, this is fine, but it doesn’t look like Brooklyn at all. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 22nd, 2004
ISBN: 0-618-30899-7
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2004


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