Lonely Planet Kids sent me a copy of the new picture book called How Cities Work by James Gulliver Hancock. It’s gorgeous! Like the title suggests, it’s a book about how cities work, from how they form, transport options, construction, living spaces, services, the structures under the ground and above the ground, and even futuristic cities.
The book is interactive for children, with sturdy open out pages, lift the flap sections and detailed illustrations to look over time and time again. My children found it very engaging, and informative too. Here’s an example of a fold out page with lift the flat sections so you can peek inside. This format gives you the feeling of being part of the city, like you’re immersed in the scene. The pages here open up to reveal life inside this high rise.
The illustrations are delightful. Detailed enough to make children want to read the book again and again as they search for new things, and yet the illustrations hold a simplicity that is pleasing to the eye.
This book would appeal to a wide age group due to its engaging nature (even my teens enjoyed it). However, I would pick the niche age to be from 5 to 11. The fold out sections are really sturdy which means longevity for this type of book and the cover is extremely thick and unbending which makes it easy to take in and out of the bookcase without affecting its shape. In saying that, for young children, it may be a good sit-and-read-together type of book. I also appreciated the general nature of the information and illustrations in that they can applied to cities in general. While some minor features are Americanised, the book doesn’t appear to me to be modelled on only just one place, so is relatable to many cities around the world. I believe this is one of those books children will remember loving well into adulthood.