cover image SUBWAY


Anastasia Suen, , illus. by Karen Katz. . Viking, $15.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-670-03622-6

"We go down/ to go uptown/ down, down, down/ in the subway"—opens the text as a mother and young daughter embark on an exuberant underground excursion. In 14 simple quatrains, Suen (Window Music ) turns city life into one big happy hub-bub; every third line consists of a key monosyllabic word repeated three times and printed in contrasting colored type, driving home the percussive sensations of navigating underground travel. The illustrations channel the zest of a kindergarten-age art enthusiast. Katz (Counting Kisses ) creates a merry metropolis that is both multicolored and multicultural; all the inhabitants sport brightly patterned clothing and even brighter smiles. Capitalizing on the book's horizontal format, the full-bleed spreads portray the subway experience from a variety of perspectives. Katz catches buskers boogying and passengers coming and going; she follows the trains as they snake through the tunnels; etc. In one cheeky vignette, she shows all the riders from the neck down—a sort of toddler's-eye view that should strike a chord with the audience. The characters' glee is so infectious that even die-hard junior suburbanites will find themselves aspiring to the straphanger's life. Ages 3-up. (Mar.)