WOW! CITY!

Robert Neubecker, Author, Robert Neubecker, Illustrator . Hyperion $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7868-0951-6

Inspired by the author's vacation with two-year-old daughter Izzy, Neubecker's debut picture book explodes with the frenetic crowds, noises and energy of urban life. Izzy excitedly responds with "Wow! Park!" or "Wow! Parade!" as she and her father explore together. The bustle of the city is largely the focus in enormous spreads that push the sparse text to the bottom of each page. Neubecker's colors—rendered digitally atop thick outlines in India ink—scream with the intensity of a city that never sleeps (the author never states a specific locale, and instead uses details that could apply to several metropolises). Children should enjoy seeking out the duo's faces from the crowd in several scenes. Luckily, Izzy's wild tangle of gold and orange hair stands out even among all the activity around her. Neubecker ably captures the overall cultural diversity of the city, as well as several human details that should resonate with youngsters, such as Izzy's perceptible nervousness beneath a museum's towering T-Rex skeleton and her father's befuddlement with a convoluted subway map. Children should adore exploring the numerous details of each scene, 11 of which are also included in an oversize, crayon-ready coloring book– style poster. Ages 3-7. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 09/20/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
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