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DREAM TOWN by Michelle Markel Kirkus Star


by Michelle Markel & illustrated by Rick Reese

Age Range: 7 - 10

Pub Date: March 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-59714-022-8
Publisher: Heyday

Where can a traveler find a giant donut, a witch’s house and a space station that serves French fries? Nana tells her grandson she grew up in “Dream Town,” where these marvels actually existed, but he doesn’t believe her. Readers are then taken on a time-travel journey to this 1950s fairy-tale world with the young Nana: “I could turn the corner and find an ocean liner, / or a fortress guarded by Assyrian soldiers, / or buildings with fish fins sticking out of them.” In the end, the boy discovers that these attractions (in some form at least) do or did exist—in Los Angeles. A two-page photo section documents the historic landmarks (though the correlation of fantasy to actual building isn’t always clear), and an author’s note explains the evolution of madcap monuments in general, from the circular Capitol Records building (“a stack of records high as the sky”) to the Spadena House (the “witches’ house”). Adults nostalgic for the magic of old Los Angeles may be the biggest fans of this whimsical ride down memory lane. (Picture book. 7-10)