Beloved children's poet Lee Bennett Hopkins and "New Yorker "artist Marcellus Hall, an exciting children's book newcomer, have crafted an extraordinary urban-themed collection that celebrates the beauty, diversity, energy, architecture, and excitement of city life.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 60.
- Review Date: 2009-03-16
- Reviewer: Staff
This joyful poetry collection celebrating urban life combines Hopkins's (Behind the Museum Door) affectionate odes (a mix of previously published and new poems) with Hall's (Because You Are My Baby) engaging watercolors, which widen the book's perspective by presenting images of famous cities all over the world. The captivating visual story line features an appealing, insouciant brown dog who travels the world with his backpack and a bluebird. Whether trudging through waist-deep snow in Moscow or riding on a crowded subway in Mexico City, both characters model the reader's wonder at the variety of costumes, music, people and sights found across the globe. Hopkins's reflective and sometimes humorous poems move through diverse aspects of life in the city—from skyscrapers (workers “balance on beams/ dangle on derricks/ glide on girders/ sway on concrete slabs”) and crowded streets to negotiating the weather (“You stand/ on a corner/ shouting:/ 'Taxi!'/ 'Taxi!'/ knowing/ deep/ inside/ taxi cabs/ never/ stop/ on/ rainy/ days”). Hopkins grounds the book with heartwarming particularities while Hall's lively paintings conjure a world that should intrigue young travelers. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)
A turn for the verse
City I Love is the latest poetic tribute from children's writer Lee Bennett Hopkins, and it's as entertaining as any storybook adventure. The poems travel through urban centers, from Manhattan to Venice, Tokyo to San Francisco. The cities are not explicitly named, but brilliant illustrations by New Yorker artist Marcellus Hall make each abundantly clear. He's also added a tour guide, in the form of a world-traveling, backpack-wearing dog, who appears in each picturekids will love spotting himmaking the book accessible to young preschoolers. The verses themselves are sharp and succinct, describing Paris from a perched pigeon's perspective and Mexico City from the interior of a crowded subway car. Hopkins and Hall have collaborated on a gorgeous homage to the lyrical life of cities, perhaps best described by the first poem: "Sing a song of cities./ If you do. /Cities will sing back to you."