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50 Cities of the U.S.A.: Explore America's Cities With 50 Fact-filled Maps (Inglese) Copertina rigida – 23 ago 2017
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Author GABRIELLE BALKAN has worked with Scholastic, Harper Collins and Penguin. She lives and works in New York.
Illustrator SOL LINERO lives and works in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her clients include Scholastic, Oprah magazine, Jamie Oliver Magazine and Wired.
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The first thing I noticed is that while this book does skip a few states, they do thoroughly cover the 50 cities they’ve chosen. Because some states get short shrift, some of the geographically larger or more populated states have multiple cities represented, including my home state of Ohio, which in addition to Columbus, includes my hometown of Cleveland Ohio. (Really hard to leave out the city that is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.) The next thing I noticed is that the book is very loosely organized. Presumably this is aimed more at children, because it often looks like it was put together by a three-year-old. This can be good or bad, depending on your perspective. It’s fun to read through descriptions of cities we know well (Nashville, New Orleans, Atlanta, Chicago, etc.) and compare our experiences and personal highlights to the authors’. Also, the native sons and daughters is interesting, mainly because most of them are quite obscure and hardly famous, although they all have done something interesting to merit attention. It’s also nice to get some ideas of some other cities that we haven’t visited, and this book has provided more than a few ideas for future road trips and vacations.
The large format of the book makes it one for leaving out on the coffee table or somewhere in the den, and the loose structure encourages random reading and page flipping. More than once I have found myself looking at the book to kill a few minutes and ended up spending a half hour or more with it. Not everyone will be enamored of the kid-centric feel of this book, but there’s lots of information and all kinds of visuals to keep both the intellectual and the artist in the reader occupied. That’s why we rate it at five stars.
The book itself is quite large and has a colorful and vibrant cover and it practically begs you to open it up.
Once you do open it you'll find many pages full of interesting facts and trivia about various cities throughout the USA. Each spread is dedicated to one city within a state, and some states get more than one city within the book. The cities chosen are not just the capitals but the cities that the authors felt are unique and quintessential to the state's identity.
The spreads contain a large simplified map of the city as a background, a short paragraph about the city, and a breakdown of a typical day in the city that hits on all of the major attractions one is likely to visit throughout the day. Also listed are a multitude of facts about the arts, cultural items, famous people born there, and tourist destinations. Each spread is beautifully designed with great attention to color, layout, and font usage.
Disappointingly, North Dakota, Iowa, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Delaware, Montana, Nebraska, and Mississippi don't get any cities listed in the book in the proper format, but rather are relegated to a small section at the back of the book. If you're from these states you may want to avoid the book if you were hoping to see your home state given the same fabulous treatment that the rest of the states received.
All in all... a wonderfully engaging book.
Since the the large 13x11” hardbound book is written for seven to ten year olds I looked it over with my grandson; he spent a little time with me talking about places that he’d been or wanted to go, but he wasn’t captivated.
It’s fifty cities, but not one from each state, so that was disappointing.
Each city is given a large illustrated map (Linero), but each is crowded with not especially good illustrations.
Since we were planning a day trip to Nashville (and I know it well), that’s where we started. My grandson had no interest in the ‘key facts’ offered (population, size, tallest building, etc.), but he was interested in the suggested activities for a day in Nashville. Twelve activities were listed, starting at 9 AM and allowing one hour for each activity including driving in city traffic to reach destinations across town.
Breakfast at Pancake Pantry sounded good (despite the long lines), but that suggestion was followed by a recommendation to buy an astrology book at Parnassus Books. Really? For a third grader?
This was followed by a walk in a state park, a visit to the Frist Museum, a lunch at a really busy place, and on to the Country Music Hall of Fame, Belle Meade, Centennial Park, and four more activities granny is too tired to even type! Really?
I understand that no one is really expected to do everything in one day, but titling that section ‘Suggested Day Activities’ would have more helpful.
Frankly, the author included too many less than interesting people, places, and activities; sometimes less is better.
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