City I Love is a collection of short poems by Lee Bennett Hopkins about -- you guessed it -- the city. My two year old loves, loves, loves this book, which I find slightly odd since it's not really a book I would think of for two year olds. However, that says something about the aural appeal of this collection. The poems are all in free verse and describe various city experiences, like catching a taxi on a rain day, people watching on the subway, driving over a strong, elegant bridge, pigeons on rooftops, blazing lights in the nights and watching skyscrapers being built.
I was quite impressed with Hopkins' ability to distill each city experience into such clear and vivid pictures. They beg to be read aloud. Take the poem, "Snow City":
Snow glides quietly
Filling the air
with a magical
But tomorrow the snow
will make everyone frown
For streets will be filled
with a magical
M U S H.
While reading "City Summer", I started to feel just like I do on a hot, sultry summer day, "It is so hot./So hot./So very hot..."
I love that the collection of poems do not focus on a single city -- in fact none are city specific. The illustrations take us on a trip around the world with a backpacking dog and his bird companion. Each poem's illustrations (by Marcellus Hall) transports us to a new city and the endpapers are a map so little readers can locate the various cities in the world.
Pick up a copy and read it aloud, kids from the city will be reminded of home and kids in the country will want to visit.
After writing this I discovered Elizabeth Bird's review, and thought, oh why did I even bother? I should have just linked to hers.
See a few of the two page spreads at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast.
Read an interview with the artist.
Visit Marcellus Hall's website.
Read my review of another city poems book, A City Is.
Big Kid says: I like the subway poem.
Little Kid says: City book, please!