B Is for Brooklyn

Selina Alko, Author
Selina Alko. Holt/Ottaviano, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9213-4
Reviewed on: 06/04/2012
Release date: 08/21/2012
Ebook - 40 pages - 978-1-4668-1587-2
Ebook - 40 pages - 978-1-4668-1588-9
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 40 pages - 978-1-4668-1589-6
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Alko (My Subway Ride), among the most visually eloquent promoters of junior-sized urbanism, turns her talents to the multicultural New York City borough of Brooklyn. It’s a love letter through and through—there isn’t even a scintilla of Portlandia-style spoofery—with Alko’s outpouring of affection limited only by the physical capacity of the pages. “C,” for example, includes Carroll Gardens, Court Street, Cherry Esplanade, and the Williamsburgh Savings Bank’s clock tower, along with Coney Island and its subsidiary “C” words (clam bar, cotton candy, Cyclone). Each letter’s visual mélange, rendered in thick, saturated gouache and collaged elements (Alko is particularly fond of maps and the New York Times), exudes an appropriately artisanal vibe as it mashes together Brooklynites of every stripe (a Hasidic family, laptop-gazing “Intellectuals,” transplants from around the world) just as the borough itself does. The visual shout-outs are fun as well, heralding the contributions of chocolatier Jacques Torres, Junior’s Cheesecake, and even Walt Whitman. It’s a loving tribute that successfully captures Brooklyn’s diversity and character. Ages 2–6. Agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Aug.)
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