cover image City Under the City

City Under the City

Dan Yaccarino. mineditionUS, $18.99 (66p) ISBN 978-1-6626-5089-5

The latest from Yaccarino (The Longest Storm) centers a comics-styled near-future dystopia in which purple-hued people in pointy helmets have given up all claim to autonomy and connection. They walk around all-consumed by handheld screens and are “helped” in every moment of their lives—even teeth-brushing—by yellow, single-eyed floating orbs, the Eyes: “The Eyes don’t just help. They also watch.” Bix, the young protagonist, yearns for genuine relationships and self-determination, but her parents and sister are as distracted as everyone else. When a friendly rat introduces Bix to the titular, abandoned underground city and its library, museum, and music hall—the remnants of life before the Eyes took over—she’s awakened to the possibility of another existence, and returns home to lead a successful uprising. The earnest, message-heavy storytelling slackens in places, but readers should appreciate the parallels between the Eyes and a familiar screen-obsessed surveillance culture, and resonate with Bix’s thirst for knowledge and refusal to settle for the status quo. Ages 4–8. Agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Nov.)