cover image Rush Hour

Rush Hour

Christine Loomis. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-69129-8

This picture book follows the rhythms of a work day in New York City, from the first stirrings of the morning to the moment when parents and children are joyfully reunited in the evening. The main focus, of course, is the bustle of rush hour: the whirl of people crowding into subway cars, cars cascading over bridges and crowds swelling out of Grand Central resembles a three-ring circus. Loomis's (The Hippo Hop) concise, rhyming text evokes a cheerful diversity of people--""Out their doors/ Go moms and dads,/ Lugging tools/ Or books and pads""--and the chaotic sounds and sights of rush hour, ""Rumbling,/ Roaring,/ Jiggling,/ Jumping,/ Left turn,/ Right turn,/ Backing,/ Bumping."" Takabayashi's (Baby's Things) engaging watercolors are a kaleidoscope of color, pattern and activity. Presented as a multiplicity of panels, the illustrations offer seemingly inexhaustible, enjoyable details: one patchwork of pictures depicts people decorating cakes, delivering mail, teaching aerobics and more, their simple faces showing a remarkable range of expression. Rather than focusing on one individual or family, this lovely book opens young readers up to a wide, complex, but still reassuring world. It may well instill a love of the kinetic vibrancy of urban life. Ages 3-8. (Sept.)