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Starred Review. Kindergarten-Grade 6—A backpack-toting, humble hound with wanderlust and a winged companion tour several of the world's cities. Hopkins's 18 poems observe skyscrapers, hot-dog vendors, subways, taxis, bridges, bright lights, and the diversity of people and pigeons. Most of the poems span a fully illustrated spread, and youngsters will have fun finding the dog and bird on each one. Hopkins honors children's lyrical sense of music ("Sing a song of cities/if you do,/Cities will sing back/to you") and earnest astonishment ("Look!/Up there!/High up there/where/men and women/building the new skyscraper/balance on beams/dangle on derricks/glide on girders…Wondrous!"). In Paris, a mother pigeon pleads with the traffic to be quiet: "Please/city/have/some/pity./Promise me/not/ one/more/beep?/My newborn/pigeons/need/their/sleep." These polished poems are equally matched by Hall's graphic-style cartoons, which offer many added layers of narrative delight as well as beautiful colors and an eye-catching sense of design. The watercolor endpapers show a map with major cities highlighted in the poems. The illustrations have a cosmopolitan look, a little French with a splash of nostalgia. They are filled with construction-buildings, bridges, pyramids-a kind of hats-off to the magnificence of the world. This book is really special, a global tour de force.—Teresa Pfeifer, Alfred Zanetti Montessori Magnet School, Springfield, MA
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Hopkins’ clear, lively poems celebrate the diversity and connections of urban life, and on each double-page spread, New Yorker magazine illustrator Hall extends the words with vibrantly colored cartoon drawings. Though no places are specifically named, a clear world map on the endpapers shows 18 cities, one for each poem, and the pictures show a traveling dog with a backpack visiting particular places across the globe. Kids will enjoy identifying the famous locations, from the Eiffel Tower in Paris to the pyramid in the distance in Cairo, but the focus is on the joy of urban life: lights, skyscrapers, hydrants, taxis, music, noise. One of the best poems is “Subways Are People” (“people always on the go / Racing, running, rushing people / People I will never know”), that zeros in on the fun of crowds, of anonymity, “races of faces,” and busy streets everywhere. Grades 2-4. --Hazel RochmanSee all Editorial Reviews