cover image City Street Beat

City Street Beat

Nancy Viau, illus. by Barbara Bakos. Albert Whitman, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8075-1164-0

Viau (Look What I Can Do!) adds to a crowded category of picture books celebrating urban life in this rhyming ode to the sights and sounds of the city. A girl and her mother drive into the city, where they meet up with a young friend and her father. The parents mostly stay in the background as the children jump rope, ride the subway and a bus, and dance to a street band. Viau's verse zips along with a strong emphasis on sound effects ("Hear the shutters climb the wall./ Rat-a-tatter. Bang!"), though the recurring refrain strains in its effort to come across as fresh and hip ("Rock-n-roll the razz-ma-tazz/ And hip-hop to the beat"). Bakos's busy illustrations, painted in a vivid palette, offer a cheerful, multicultural cast and abundant city bustle to explore while matching the unceasingly upbeat mood of the verse%E2%80%94the closest the book ever comes to any sort of urban grit is an encounter with a garbage truck. Ages 4%E2%80%937. Author's agent: Karen Grencik, Red Fox Literary. Illustrator's agency: the Bright Agency. (Sept.)