Book review: World of Cities: From Paris to Tokyo and Beyond, a Celebration of the World’s Most Famous Cities, by James Brown

Brown, James. World of Cities: From Paris to Tokyo and Beyond, a Celebration of the World’s Most Famous Cities. Candlewick, 2017. $25.00. unp. ISBN 978-0-7636-9879-9. Ages 8-11. P4Q4

Trivia about 31 major international cities are sprinkled on double-page horizontal spreads. Screenprints that use color schemes reflecting the cities’ features or flags display present images of the place’s more famous monuments and symbols.

Verdict: The design-focused book is colorful and the layout interesting, but the facts seem selected at random with little interest for the intended audience.

Fall 2018 review by Nel Ward.


Book review: Animal City, by Joan Negrescolor

Negrescolor, Joan. Animal City. Chronicle Books, 2018. $18.99. ISBN 9781452170299. Unp. Ages 3-7. P7 Q8

Animal City is an illustration-driven book with bold colors and geometric shapes on white pages. Nina visits her special place, an old city that has been taken back by the jungle and its animals, where she reads stories to the flamingos, monkeys, snakes, and jaguars—all living together peacefully. The concept of human cities slowly returning to the natural world is spooky and causes the reader to imagine what drove the humans from their home in the first place. The book delivers the impetus for a grander story despite its minimal text.

Verdict: Animal City’s wonderful illustrations are accompanied by minimal text and may spark many writing prompts for young creative writers or storytellers. I recommend it for school and public libraries.

October 2018 review by Lillian Curanzy.

Book review: Metropolis, by Benoit Tardif

Tardif, Benoit. Metropolis. Kids Can Press, 2016. $17.95. 72p. ISBN 9781771387217. Ages 5-8. P5Q5

tardif-metropolisVisuals highlight 34 cities from all continents in two-page spreads showing the country, language(s), population, and montages of people, culture, and landmarks. Simple sketches give a feeling of the past and seem generic with repetition of elements for several cities, perhaps to indicate commonalities rather than differences. Pronunciation guides for difficult names and definitions for esoteric terms would have been useful.

Fall 2016 review by Nel Ward.