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CLANG! CLANG! BEEP! BEEP! by Robert Burleigh


Listen to the City

by Robert Burleigh & illustrated by Beppe Giacobbe

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: May 5th, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4169-4052-4
Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Using rhymed couplets of only four or five words, Burleigh makes a poem of the noises any child might hear in an urban environment: the alarm clock, the subway, traffic, demolition. The verses sit on each full-page, full-bleed spread while onomatopoeic words splash across the page, incorporated into the artwork: clunk, beep, ring. Giacobbe uses matte color to define his strong shapes and often matches the words to the image: “Flutter flutter” for “pigeons strutting” has white and fluffy letters; the struts under a train bridge form the words “RUMBLE/RATTLE” with their crossbeams. The story, which is told entirely in those tiny couplets, splash words and images, takes a boy through his day, from riding the subway to school with his mom, sketching in art class while watching barges on the lake, getting ice cream and coming home past the “wrecking ball smashing.” At home, the images sink into quiet, as the boy has dinner with his family and then falls to sleep, “Darkness creeping, / City sleeping….” A vivid sliver of city life. (Picture book. 3-7)