In Focus Cities: Culture, Character, Civilization – created by Libby Walden


  In Focus Cities: Culture, Character, Civilization – created by Libby Walden, 360 Degrees, (9781944530082), 2017.

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5:  (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

What did you like about the book? The intent of this book is to introduce the culture, character and civilization of ten cities around the world. To accomplish this tall task, innovations in both in design and authorship were utilized. To adequately describe ten different cities using minimal space, the book consists of back to back double gatefolds, essentially creating six panels for each city. Pages consist of sturdy paper of almost a cardboard thickness to stand up to repeated use. Creation of the content was a collaborative effort; a different artist designed the illustrations for each of the ten cities. Each artist’s chosen color palette represents that city, so Istanbul’s background is a smoky gold/orange while Moscow features colorful red and gold turreted buildings against a pale slate blue snowy sky. Tokyo, known for its night life, displays a row of its famous landmark skyscrapers against a black sky. The culture, civilization, and character of the cities are communicated both in the chosen landmarks and in the short descriptions that appear with all of the illustrations. Content is more Old World centric, featuring New York and Rio de Janeiro for the Americas, while London, Paris, and Rome appear for Europe and Istanbul, Moscow and Tokyo represent Asia. In sum, this is an attractive and informative source that seems likely to captivate young people and encourage them to learn more about world history and geography.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  I wanted to know more about the origins of the book. Was this all the author’s brainchild?  Who chose the illustrators and how were they chosen? How did they decide which cities to profile?

To whom would you recommend this book?  Recommend to readers in third to sixth grade who like to browse to increase their knowledge of the world and to pick up interesting facts about exotic places.  It would also work well to supplement world geography units.

Who should buy this book? Elementary school libraries and public libraries.

Where would you shelve it?  Shelve in 900.

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Maybe. It is not a “must read”, but it is very cool!

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Mary Melaugh, Marshall Middle School Library, Billerica, MA

Date of review:  7/19/17

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