'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 29 December 2016

Review: How Cities Work

Oh, heaven. I've been obsessed with Australian-in-New-York, James Gulliver Hancock's artwork for some time now. Here is a man determined to draw all the buildings in New York City. What's not to love?

I reviewed two of his previous [really for adults, but kids will love, too] books - All the Buildings in New York and Sydney right here. I love them. So, it was with hand-clapping glee that I learned about this newest incarnation--aimed directly at upper primary (elementary) kids.

How Cities Work is an underground tunnelling of a book, exposing the creation of a city (how it all began, way back when) and meandering through the construct of a typical city, how we get in and out of a city, how we live within in (with intriguing peeks inside buildings via lift-the-flaps and flip-out pages), even how they are built.

The turn-the--book sideways peek at the interior of a skyscraper is eye-bogglingly good fun. Dotted with people and snippets of text and masses of little things to see and find, the entire book is just a joy. The final spread--Cities of the Future ... please give me another 200 years to see this come to fruition, please!

In a nod to ecology, Hancock also covers green spaces before sinking below the pavement to view the network of pipes and cabling and tunnels that make up the belly of the beast, and sustain the busyness above.

This is a truly fascinating and beautifully-designed book--one that had heart palpitations inside the chest of this architecture lover. Lonely Planet are investing so beautifully in their quality line-up of children's books, and it's little wonder they're doing so well. This book is bursting to full with incredible detail and interactivity, and is well worth the price tag.

Hoping there's some kind of sequel. Just saying.

Title: How Cities Work
Author/Illustrator: James Gulliver Hancock
Publisher: Lonely Planet, $24.99
Publication Date: 1 November 2016
Format: Hard cover
ISBN: 9781786570222
For ages: 7 - 12
Type: Picture Book, Non-Fiction, Lift-the-Flap